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The uninvited envoy 

cop 1 

D DD01T04Q0757 D 



Books by James Leasor 









by James Leasor 

McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc. New York Toronto London 

<g> 1962 by James Leasor. 
m the Untied States of America. 
,4fi rights reserved. This book or parts 
thereof may not be reproduced in any form 
without written permission of the publishers* 

Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 62-17643 

ILLUSTRATIONS (following page no) 

Rudolf Hess as a World War I pilot 

Rudolf Hess in Tripoli, 1937 
Hess and Karl Haushofer 
Rudolf Hess's house in Munich 
Hess and Hitler 

The weather report Hess received on May 10, 1941 
Hess prepares for his flight to Britain 
The engines won't start 
Hess takes off 

David McLeans Cottage at Eaglesham 

A drawing Hess made for his son soon after he landed in 

Frau Hess and her son today 

Frau Hess's mountain chalet 

Front door of the chalet 

The gatepost of Hess's house in Munich 

"Learn, my son, with how 

little wisdom the world is governed" 

Pope Julius III (1487-1555) 



"One A/C, no I.F.," announced the WAAF radar operator 
to the plotting room in Inverness, reporting the passage over- 
head of one unidentified aircraft, as the single plane flew in 
from the east through the late evening mist above the North 
Sea. As it crossed the Scottish coast, north of Berwick-upon- 
Tweed, men of the Observer Corps in their sandbagged look- 
out posts reached first for night glasses and binoculars, and 
then for the telephone. 

"An ME no, flying at 180 miles an hour, due west/* they 
said, recognizing its two engines, the blunt wing tips, the 
distinctive rudders at the tail. 

"Take more water with it," retorted the R.A.F. officer at 
the other end of the line. He knew that no ordinary airplane 
of this type could fly so far from Germany and carry enough 
fuel to return. 

But this was no ordinary airplane, and it never would re- 
turn. It flew like a dark arrow on its strange and secret mis- 
sion. In its cockpit, cold and cramped after five hours' flying, 
despite his fur-lined, leather overalls, the pilot flew with 
plans of peace, plans that could not only change the world 

but also mold the future of nations and millions yet unborn. 

The pilot was a tall man, well built, with a rather heavy 
serious face and deep-set eyes. His brows were so dark and 
bushy that they overemphasized this feature of his face, 
making him appear morose, as though perpetually consider- 
ing some grave question of state. 

He was Rudolf Hess, Germany's Deputy Fiihxer, leader of 
the Nazi party, Reichsminister without portfolio, a member 
of Germany's Secret Cabinet Council, and of the Ministerial 
Council for his country's defense. This man, above all others, 
had stood closest to Hitler for more than twenty years; fre- 
quently he voiced his Leader's secret thoughts, always he 
knew his master's mind. 

In the First World War, he had flown flimsy biplanes, 
raced lightweight aircraft in the years since then even pre- 
pared to make a solo Atlantic flight after Lindbergh. Now 
he flew alone in an unarmed airplane, on the most dangerous 
flight of his life. 

Cold and stiff, the dim roar of the engines filtering through 
his leather flying helmet, Hess glanced down at his dash- 
board compass. He had to turn sharply to the west from 
Holy Island lighthouse to maintain his route. Two com- 
passes strapped to his thighs were evidence of his determi- 
nation not to veer off course, and he stayed firmly on his 
line. Not bad for a man of forty-eight, he thought with pride. 
Still, accuracy in such a matter was only to be expected; it 
was what he demanded from others. As probably the second 
most powerful man in the world, he did not tolerate fools 
or errors; his life and Hitler's had touched at too many points 
for too long. 

Of course, he was really too old to make such a flight 
alone; there were so many instruments to watch, so many 
controls to know. Actions that had been half automatic when 
one was young became more difficult to remember in middle 
life. And it would be unthinkable now to miss his way and 
come down in the sea out of fuel after all his plans and 
months of careful preparations. 

In addition to his three compasses, Hess had strapped a 
map of his course in a cellophane-covered case to his right 
thigh. Radio guidance signals were also helping him. One 
was a Luftwaffe direction signal from Paris; the other, dance 
music being specially transmitted as an interval signal from 
Kalundborg, a Danish radio station under German control. 
By maintaining both these signals at a consistent strength 
throughout his flight, Hess could keep his plane on course., 
and make allowances for drift and wind. 

With these aids, plus the view of the British coast, along 
which he flew so closely that when he descended he could 
see waves breaking on deserted beaches littered with anti- 
invasion blocks of concrete, coils of wire and rusting wrecks 
of cars, Hess felt confident he would reach his destination. 

As a final check, he had received a weather report from 
Goring's Air Ministry in Berlin earlier during the day. This 
report now caused him some anxiety, for it did not seem to 
be accurate. Hess feathered his propellers, and looked down 
at the desolate emptiness of sky and sea. A few small clouds 
far below him looked like thin strips of ice, remote and 
ethereal. Instead of this, he had expected to find what the 
weather report called "a dense carpet of cloud at about 500 

For a moment he thought of turning back, for it seemed 
impossible that with so little cloud cover he could escape 
the fighter patrols almost certainly prowling on the alert for 
German aircraft. It was easy to imagine the bristling muzzles 
of unseen anti-aircraft guns, taking his range. But if he flew 
back, he reasoned, even if he saved himself, his airplane 
would probably be damaged beyond repair in his attempt at 
an unexpected night landing. Then, nothing would be secret, 
and if his mission was to have any hope of success, it must 
be conducted with speed and absolute secrecy. 

Suddenly, Hess saw that a thick veil of white mist draped 
a section of the coast ahead, reflecting the last rays of the sun 
so that it became opaque. Clearly, if he could not see the 
land through it, then no one on the ground could see him, 

although they might hear his engines. He dived on full 
throttle, into the mist from a height of 2,000 meters, to 
within several hundred meters of the sea. 

This action probably saved his life; at least, he has always 
maintained that it did. For behind him and quite without 
his knowledge, a Spitfire on coastal patrol had given chase. 
Such was the power and speed of the Messerschmitt with 
its two engines, that as Hess says himself, "I had outdis- 
tanced it before I was aware of its presence. I could not look 
behind; I was too enclosed in my cabin and too dazzled by 
the reflections. Had I not been tempted to dive for cover, 
but remained in the clear air at the pace I had been going, 
he could easily have shot me down/' * 

Below the white belt of cloud, Hess could see a village 
with stone and granite houses, some empty streets and 
people like ants going in and out of doors. It was Belford, 
a small town about five miles from the coast and roughly 
ninety miles from his destination. 

The lighthouse now lay behind him; he was well past Holy 
Island. Hess glanced at his gold wristwatch which he wore 
on his left wrist balanced by a fine gold identity disk and 
bracelet on his right. He had his wife's Leica camera hang- 
ing from a leather strap round his neck. He had left a note 
for her explaining that he was borrowing her camera because 
it was loaded and he had no film for his own. 

The time was shortly before ten o'clock. The sun was set- 
ting beyond the sea, but still, inexplicably to Hess, it was 
not yet dark. He could see the country beneath him as clearly 
as if it had been a colored and raised contour map. 

This puzzled him, for by his calculations he should now 
be flying in darkness. He had planned to arrive at his desti- 
nation, about ten miles west of Glasgow, just after dark, 
when the German markings on his plane would be difficult 
to see and the plane itself hard to recognize. No British look- 
outs would be expecting a Messerschmitt no over Scotland, 
for it was well known that no standard Messerschmitt no 

* In a letter to his wife. 

could carry enough fuel to fly so far and return to base. Thus 
he gambled on the likelihood that any report of such a plane 
would be treated with ridicule; and in this he was correct. 

But one point that Hess had neglected in his calculations 
was that while Germany enjoyed one hour of summer time, 
clocks in Britain were set back two hours for double summer 
time. Hess was thus flying an hour ahead of his schedule; it 
would still be daylight when he landed. 

In his surprise at the lightness of the evening, and still not 
quite accustomed to the speed of his plane, he came down 
lower than he intended and roared above the sleepy streets 
of Wooler at a hundred miles an hour, with his 2,ooo-horse- 
power engines on full throttle. Over their slate roofs and the 
fields that ringed them in, crisscrossed by hedges like some 
gigantic quilt of greens, yellow and gold, Hess swept on. 

"At this level the visibility was surprisingly good/' he 
wrote later to his wife. "I could see for several miles, but 
must have been invisible to my pursuer. I took care not to 
rise too high, but flew on at not more than 16 feet from the 
ground even less at times, skimming over men, trees, beasts 
and houses; what English airmen call liedge hopping/ " 

Despite the strain of the lonely journey and the fearful 
consequence of failure, he was genuinely enjoying himself. 
He was doing something difficult and dangerous, and doing 
it well. Such a combination of circumstances always gave 
him pleasure. Hitler's personal pilot, "Father" Hans Baur, 
had often told him laughingly that the flying Hess liked best 
of all was skimming through barn doors, taking risks, revel- 
ing in the sensation of speed and power and flight. 

Suddenly, beneath him, in the misty evening, the houses 
fell away and the ground rose to meet him; he had reached 
the foothills of the Cheviot range. 

"This was my guiding point, as previously determined, 
and keeping within a few yards of the ground, I literally 
climbed up the slope/' he recalled afterwards. "Never before 
had I ascended a mountain so rapidly. The variometer told 
me I was ascending. Suddenly I was over my point of 

orientation a little dam in a narrow range of hills. Here 
my course bent to the left. I had no need to bother with a 
map; all the details of the course, points, distances, were 
abeady stored in my memory." 

Hess flew on over Coldstream, Peebles, and Lanark. By 
half past ten, he was over the stone mansion, Dungavel 
House, the Scottish home of the Duke of Hamilton, Premier 
Duke of Scotland, whom Hess called "my quite unconscious 
future host." 

Hess now felt certain that he was right on target, for he 
had studied the largest available map of the area in Ger- 
many, and Dungavel was the only house of this size to be 
marked. There should be a level field or small landing ground 
on one side, according to his information, for the Duke was 
a distinguished aviator and, with a companion, had piloted 
tLe first airplane to fly over Everest eight years earlier, in 

The moon was rising now, and Hess could plainly see a 

cone-shaped hill which he took to be Dungavel Hill. At once 
he remembered that it was 458 meters high. But partly be- 
cause he had come so far without any hitch, and also because 
of the importance of his mission, he was suddenly seized with 
doubt What if this were not the house? What if he had 
somehow flown off course, if he had miscalculated the wind 
drift as he had miscalculated the time of his arrival? 

On a sudden impulse, Hess decided not to circle round 
the mansion, but to fly on out over the west coast only a 
few minutes away to take his bearings and then, reassured, 
to return. 

The sea soon lay beneath him again, calm and cold as a 
mirror, lit by the rising moon like a lake of glass, and seem- 
ingly without a wave. 

Off the mainland a huge reddish rock, about 122 meters 
high, stood like a sentinel, pale in the early moonlight. Hess 
suddenly felt as though he was flying beyond the confines 
of time in some strange twilight world of dreams; he might 
be the last man alive. 

"Never shall I forget this picture/' he said afterwards. He 
throttled back his engines, flew down the coast for a few 
miles searching for a small spit of land like a mole, which 
he knew from his map should be there if his readings were 
accurate. Soon the expected thumb of earth appeared be- 
neath him; he was right. 

For his Sso-mile flight from Augsburg, near Munich, in 
southern Germany, Messerschmitt technicians had fitted the 
airplane with a cigar-shaped auxiliary petrol tank which 
could be jettisoned when it was empty. Hess saw from the 
green-lit gauge on the dashboard that the fuel this tank con- 
tained had already been consumed. He moved a lever by his 
seat which released it. The tank fell lightly away behind him 
into the sea, like some strange silver balloon. (On the fol- 
lowing day, a British drifter recovered it from the Clyde. ) 
Thus unencumbered, Hess banked and turned to fly back 
to Dungavel House and to land. 

He did not know, as he flew back over the coast, picking 
up the railway lines that glittered like two silver snakes in 
the moonlight, watching for a lake south of Dungavel as a 
further landmark, that he was following the daily routine 
flight of British R.A.F. pilots under instruction. They would 
leave Irvine air base near Prestwick, fly north to Renfrew, 
then southeast to Dungavel and, using the hill as a landmark, 
turn southwest again for their base. 

Although Hess believed that a landing strip or at least 
a wide lawn where he could land quite safely lay near 
Dungavel House, he intended to parachute. His plane was 
still on the secret list in Germany. It was, in fact, a proto- 
type, immensely more powerful, more maneuverable, and 
swifter than any Messerschmitt in service with the Luft- 
waffe. To let such a machine fall into British hands, regard- 
less of the importance of his mission, would be folly. His aim 
was to parachute, and let the plane crash and burn itself out. 

After his negotiations, whether they succeeded or whether 
they failed, he would seek the use of a British airplane to 
return him to Germany, or at least to some neutral city from 

which he could make his own arrangements to reach home, 
This would be his first parachute jump, and perhaps his last, 
and forty-eight was old to begin such exercises. 

He came in low over the little village of Eaglesham that 
straggled on either side of a deserted gray ribbon of road, 
finishing in a curve above Dungavel, and then climbed 
steeply until his altimeter showed a height of 200 meters 
not much above 650 feet. This was the minimum height 
from which he dared to jump. It would allow him little time 
to correct any error in his fall, but, inexpert though he was, 
he should be able to judge his point of landing. 

Now Hess worked with a speed remarkable for so heavily 
built a man. He switched off the two tumbler switches which 
cut the ignition of his engines, and set the propeller-feather- 
ing device to zero so that the wind would not be able to spin 
the propellers now that the engines had stopped. He feared 
that if the propellers were still turning, their blades might 
become entangled with his parachute or its line. Then, de- 
spite his caution and the number of times he had rehearsed 
this moment in his mind, things began to go wrong. 

After such a long and unaccustomed flight on full throttle, 
his two engines, new and barely run in, were nearly red- 
hot. One stopped obediently as he switched off the ignition, 
but the other obstinately kept on running. The intense heat 
of the cylinders was still igniting the petrol vapor. Hess 
throttled it back furiously, and it died. But this threw his 
plans out of sequence. At his low height and speed, even a 
second of delay was dangerous. With the engines silent, only 
the scream of the wind filled his cockpit. 

He reached up with both hands and slid back the cabin 
roo Then he stood up to climb out. To his astonishment 
and horror, the tremendous air pressure thrust him back into 
his seat again with the blunt force of a hammer blow on his 

"It pressed me up against the back partition as if I was 
glued to it," he recalled later. "In spite of the great care I 

had taken to find out about everything from my good friends 
at Messerschmitt's, there was just one thing I had over- 
looked. I had never asked about how to jump; I thought it 
was too simple!" 

In the urgency and agony of the moment, Hess did not 
think to lower the undercarriage of the airplane, which 
would have slowed it down considerably. Instead, he braced 
his feet against the thin metal floor of the cockpit, trying to 
force his head and shoulders through the opening. It was 
still impossible. He was trapped in the diving cockpit. 

As Dungavel Hill raced up towards him, Hess suddenly 
recalled a remark of an old friend, Gen. Ritter von Greim, 
who, in the last days of the war, was promoted to Luf twaffe 
Commander in Chief in place of Goring. Greiin had once 
said that the easiest way to escape from a crashing aircraft 
was to turn the plane upside down and drop out. Hess pulled 
back the joy stick, and at once the ground fell away beneath 
him like a toppling wall, and he was upside down. 

As he came over, the centrifugal force of the turning plane 
still held him in his seat. This undoubtedly saved his life, 
as he. has admitted. Had Hess fallen at that moment, the 
strength of the wind would have broken both his neck and 
his back. As it was, the blood drained from his head with 
the speed of his flight, and lights and stars flashed in front 
of his eyes. 

One thought hammered on his brain before he lost con- 
sciousness: "I am only just above the ground and flying 
straight down: soon the crash must come. Is this the end?" 

Then the stars faded. Hess lost consciousness, and the 
deputy leader of the most powerful military nation in the 
world flew on upside down and in a dead faint above his 
country's most desperate enemy. Gradually, mistily, as 
though from a great distance, Hess again became aware of 
his surroundings. Within inches of his eyes were the altim- 
eter and air speed indicator. Both white pointers stood at 

His pilot's training from nearly twenty-five years earlier 
had made him do mechanically while unconscious what he 
should have done in the beginning. He had brought his plane 
out of its semi-looping curve so that it stood almost perpen- 
dicularly on its tail. For a second the Messerschmitt hung 
motionless as it lost the impetus of its climb. This threw 
Hess back on Ms seat so that the blood rushed to his brain; 
as he struggled out of his fainting fit, a fearful awareness of 
imminent danger consumed him. 

Somehow, he bunched his legs under him and kicked him- 
self into the air. As he fell, he pulled the rip cord of his 

Swinging to and fro from his parachute like a giant puppet 
on strings, he sucked in great lungfuls of air and his head 
cleared. The plane zoomed away over the fields and crashed 
in a shower of sparks. As the dark tops of the trees came up 
gently to Hess, little tapers of flame grew like yellow flowers 
from the wreckage. Well, it had served its purpose. Now to 
the task ahead. 

The pale mists of an early summer night rose from the 
fields, diffusing the light from the moon. Houses showed 
blank windows like closed eyes; there were no lights and 
no movements; nothing lived or breathed. He might be fall- 
ing into a dead world of silence. The sense of strangeness 
he had felt above the sea minutes earlier returned with 
greater strength. 

Hess was unprepared for die ground when it came rushing 
up to him. His flying boots suddenly hit the grass and he fell 
forward, grunting for breath. The abrupt stop, plus the 
force and shock of landing, caused a second blackout. He 
stumbled senselessly about on his hands and knees in the 
corner of a field like a drunken man. Mechanically, he 
fumbled with his parachute harness, loosening it so that 
the wind would not drag him along. 

As consciousness swam back to him he clawed himself up 
and stood, spattered with earth, the sweat cold on his fore- 
head, his ears singing with a strange silence after the roar of 

his engines and the wind. Then, through his thick leather 
flying helmet, he began to hear faint shouts of alarm from 
people he could not see. 

Hess had no idea where he was, what had happened to 
him, why he was there. Momentarily he could not even re- 
member his own name. 

"Only gradually did it become clear to me that I had 
reached my goal or rather a new beginning," he admitted 
later. "Alas, it was more of a beginning than I dreamed!" 


Ten miles away, along the Eaglesham road, Lt. Tom Hyslop, 
a burly good-natured officer in the Renfrewshire Constabu- 
lary, was driving home from Dumbarton in his black Wol- 
seley police car, with his daughter Nan. She was a Leading 
Aircraftswoman, Second Class, in the WAAF, home on week- 
end leave. 

Hyslop had been visiting the Dumbarton detention home 
about a difficult case, and his daughter had gone with him 
for company and because, at that time of strict petrol ration- 
ing, a journey by car was to most people sufficiently rare to 
be something of an outing. 

As he drove, Hyslop kept his official radio switched on 
for police messages about air raids and unexploded bombs. 
Shortly after ten o'clock a metallic, impersonal voice came 
through the static: "A single enemy plane has crossed the 
Clyde and is flying inland towards Glasgow. It is difficult to 
identify, but is definitely hostile and may be in difficulties. 
All police are to watch in case it lands. Message ends." 

"Why, that's quite near us," said Nan Hyslop in surprise. 

"It sounds too near us/' replied her father. "Let's see if we 
can hear it/' 

He dimmed his masked headlights, pulled the car into the 
side of the road and switched off the engine. The sky hung 
clear and empty above them; mist rolled eerily across the 
darkened fields. Somewhere an owl hooted, and in the dis- 
tance, an infinity away, a slow freight train chugged along 
to the docks. 

At that moment they both heard an unfamiliar roar of 
engines in the sky. A plane crossed the moon like a swift 
huge bird, racing down towards the ground. As it fell a 
figure dropped from it and a parachute billowed like a giant 
puffball in the sky. Then they heard a crunch of breaking 
metal. A cow mooed plaintively, and began to tear at the 
cropped grass. 

"Come on! Into the car again, Nan!" cried Hyslop. "That 
must be the German!" 

They jumped in and raced on up the road. The plane had 
apparently crashed somewhere to the left of the Eaglesham 
road. The nearest approach to it would thus be a lane that 
joined the Eaglesham road a mile or two away. This was 
Floors Road, a narrow tarmac lane leading to the farm from 
which it takes its name, and to two other houses a little 
farther on. Hyslop gauged that most probably the plane had 
crashed beyond Floors Farm, about a mile up on the right 
of the road. 

He stopped the car again and wound down his window, 
listening for any strange sounds that might give him a clue. 
He thought he heard faint shouts from the direction of the 
farm, but the wind sang so loudly in the telephone wires 
alongside the stone wall bordering the lane that he could not 
be sure. In any case, this was the only way to reach the scene 
of the crash. He restarted his engine, and set off up the 
narrow road. 

Floors Farm is built around an open space with buildings 
on three sides. The house stands at right angles to the road, 

and is approached by a straight tarmac drive from the road. 
To the left, across a yard, are outbuildings and maroon- 
painted metal sheds for storing hay and farm implements. 
Beyond them stands a small, single-story house with white- 
washed walls and a tiny kitchen garden full of fruit and 
vegetables and flowers. In 1941, this was the home of the 
farm's head plowman, David McLean, a bachelor in his mid- 
forties, and his mother and sister. McLean had emigrated 
to Auckland some years before the war, but had returned 
when his mother grew older, to look after her. He was and 
is a stocky, wiry man with a dry edge to his tongue. 

At exactly a quarter to eleven by the alarm clock, on a 
night clear with that sharp ambience found only on this 
coast of Scotland, David McLean was preparing for sleep in 
his small whitewashed bedroom. His mother and sister were 
already in bed in the next room, and he was on the point 
of turning out his light and removing the blackout curtain 
from his window to let in the cool summer air, when he 
heard an airplane flying just above the house. 

At first the plane came over with a great roar, the thunder 
of its engines making the little china ornaments on his 
mantelpiece tremble and dance. The noise faded, then grew 
louder, then suddenly stopped. McLean heard only the wind 
screaming past the wings. Clearly, something had gone 
wrong. The plane was crashing. Was it a bomber likely to 
explode when it hit the ground? McLean braced himself, 
holding his breath for the shock of an explosion; but nothing 

McLean switched off the light and pulled aside the black- 
out curtain over the window. Then, hands cupped on either 
side of his eyes, he peered out through the glass across the 
stone wall at the bottom of his garden and over the empty 

At first he could see nothing but grass, silver in the moon- 
light, and the smooth breasts of the hills in the distance 
dotted with clusters of trees. Then he made out something 
white in the sky, like a falling, billowing cloud: a descend- 

ing parachute. McLean groped for his boots and his trousers 
in the darkness, tucked his nightshirt into the waistband, 
and beat on the wall to waken his mother. 

"It's a pilot come down just outside!" he called. "I think 
he's a German! Get up! I'm going out after him!" 

Then he was off through the front door. He turned right 
past the raspberry canes, alongside the barns and out through 
a small wicket gate into the field. He felt sure that the para- 
chutist must be a German, because after months of hearing 
English airplanes of all kinds and sizes flying overhead from 
Irvine to Prestwick and back again, McLean was accus- 
tomed to the particular drone of their engines. The noise 
of the two Messerschmitt engines was entirely different from 
anything he had heard before. In his reasoning, since it was 
alien, it must be an enemy. 

By the time McLean was through the gate, the parachutist 
had landed, but the wind was still billowing in his parachute 
and dragging him across the thick grass, already damp with 
evening dew. McLean ran after him, shouting, his bare feet 
slithering in his boots. He caught up with Hess, who was on 
hands and knees, and struggling to undo the straps of his 
harness. As McLean reached him, Hess managed to slip the 
catches, and the parachute blew away for a few yards, and 
then fell slowly as the wind left it. 

"Who are you?" shouted McLean. "Are you a German?" 

Hess struggled to stand, but he had damaged his right 
ankle in his inexpert landing and it was too painful to bear 
his weight. He stumbled, and, instinctively, stretched out 
his hands to McLean to support him. McLean stood firm, 
feet wide apart, and slowly the pilot drew himself up to his 
full height. He was probably a foot taller than the plowman, 
and of infinitely heavier build. 

"Yes," Hess replied, speaking slowly in the unfamiliar lan- 
guage. "I am German. I am Hauptmann Alfred Horn. I want 
to go to Dungavel House. I have an important message for 
the Duke of Hamilton." 

As he spoke, there came, almost as though on cue, a 


muffled ramble from the plane which had crashed several 
fields away. A sheet of flame shot up from it, silhouetting 
die hedges, the trees, the electric pylons. Both men looked 
towards the flash. 

"Are there any more in the plane, bar you?" asked Mc- 

Hess shook his head. "No. I have no companions. I flew 

"Are you armed?" 

McLean patted his pockets with the palms of his hands; 
he could feel no weapon. Hess stood on one leg to keep his 
weight from his painful ankle and patiently raised both 
hands above his head. 

*1 am unarmed/' he said. "I have no revolver." 

By now, shouts were coming from the direction of the 
farmhouse, and another man ran towards them, a tall thin 
figure in the moonlight. 

This was William Craig, then sixty-eight, and still a re- 
markably spry figure at eighty-nine. He had been the first 
child to be born in the farmhouse, had lived there all his 
life, and used to say that when he walked to school down 
the road as a child, he had to peer over the wall to see the 
little saplings that had just been planted. Now these trees 
were eighty feet high and formed a background to these 

"What's happened?" he shouted. "Who's out there?" 

"A German's here," replied McLean. "Go and get some 

Across the lane, in Eaglesham House, was billeted a de- 
tachment of the Royal Signals. They were technically a 
searchlight unit but their main preoccupation was radar. 
Naturally no one locally knew this, for the existence of radar 
was one of Britain's best-kept secrets at that time. 

Although some locals felt that these soldiers appeared 
more studious than martial most were extremely well qual- 
ified in radio and electronics they wore uniforms, and Me- 

Lean thought that they could deal with a capital enemy 
pilot better than he could on his own. He had not worn a 
uniform since the days he had been a private in the Cameron 
Highlanders during the First World War. 

In the meantime, McLean decided to march his captive 
out of the field into some place where they could have Light. 
He had only the man's word for the fact that he was un- 
armed, and injured though he was, he looked too strong to 
take on in single combat. The pilot, however, showed no 
disposition to fight or to escape. 

With one arm around McLean's shoulder, Hess began to 
limp towards the little wooden gate. After he had gone a 
few paces he stopped and looked back across the empty 
moonlit field. McLean followed his gaze. He was looking at 
the parachute still trembling slightly in the mist, as huge 
and ghostly as a gigantic jellyfish. 

"I can't leave that," he said. 

"Why not?" asked McLean. 

"Well, I owe my life to it," explained Hess with a small 

Was this a trick, a ruse to get McLean out of the way so 
that he could escape? Was he really injured in the leg? Both 
these thoughts flashed through the plowman's mind as they 
stood together in the moonlight, the tall and the short, the 
captive and his captor, on the edge of the field. 

"I'll get it for you," said McLean. "Don't move, though, 
will you?" 

Hess smiled, his teeth white in the moonlight 

"I promise I won't," he said. 

McLean ran across the grass and pulled in the parachute, 
which was much larger than he had imagined, and heavier, 
because it was damp. He compressed it into a huge ball, 
and held it under one arm. 

Then, with the Deputy Fiihrer of Germany leaning on his 
shoulder, the Scots plowman came into the little hall of his 
house. By now, Mrs. McLean was downstairs with an old 


dressing gown over her nightdress and her feet in slippers. 

"Shut the door, so I can put on the light," she said in a 
matter-of-fact way. 

McLean did so. In the excitement of the moment he had 
forgotten all about the blackout regulations. His mother's 
hand groped for the switch; the little bulb glowed in its 
shade above their heads. 

Rudolf Hess clicked his heels together and bowed to the 
short, wizened woman who stared up at him with an ex- 
pression in which incredulity mingled with curiosity. He 
was probably the first foreigner she had seen face to face 
and certainly the first German. As such, he deserved the 
closest scrutiny. Everything about him seemed strange and 
unfamiliar: his field-gray uniform, his soft leather flying 
boots with the fur showing at the top, his continental cour- 
tesy, his stiff way of standing. He was as alien as sauerkraut. 

"Are you German?" she asked, drawing her dressing gown 
more tightly about her. 

"Yes, I am German," replied Hess, bowing to her again. 

She gave a little sniff. "Ma Gawd!" she said with feeling. 
"What a life!" 

This summed up fairly adequately the feelings of them 

McLean was conscious that as captor, or host, he owed 
obligations to his uninvited and unexpected guest. Nowhere 
else in the world is the tradition of hospitality under all 
circumstances stronger than in Scotland. He jerked his 
head a little awkwardly in the direction of the living room. 

"We'd better go in there," he said gruffly, and pushed open 
the door. 

In the harsh light of the single electric bulb that hung 
from the ceiling in a china shade, everything shone with 
cleanliness and polish; the tang of furniture cream was sharp 
on the air. 

"You sit there," McLean told Hess, pointing towards the 
best chair in the room, a big leather armchair with an enor- 

mously deep cushion and wide arms. It was the chair re- 
served for the head of the house, or for the most distin- 
guished visitor. It was easily the most expensive single article 
of furniture in the whole cottage. 

Hess sank down into the unexpected depth of the chair, 
his head back, his arms outstretched. 

Til get a cup of tea," announced Mrs. McLean, and she 
shuffled off to the kitchen. They heard the sound of running 
water and the bang of a kettle on the hob of the stove. 

"Well?" asked McLean, still standing and staring at his 
guest, and feeling that he should say something. Hess said 
nothing for a moment, and then repeated the remark he had 
made out in the field. 

"I have an urgent message for the Duke of Hamilton. 
Please take me to him at once." 

The Duke of Hamilton indeed! Now, who did this fellow 
think he was, asking for the Duke, as bold as brass, and at 
this time of night? 

"The soldiers will be here soon," McLean assured him, 
speaking slowly and loudly as though by this means he could 
rise above the barrier of language. "They will deal with all 
that. I'm only a civilian, though I wasn't a civvy in the last 
war. I was in the Highlanders. In Arras." 

Hess appeared interested. 

"I was in the battle of Arras," he said. 

"Aye," agreed McLean dourly. "On the other side." 

Silence hung uneasily between them; David McLean had 
never imagined himself capturing a German single-handed. 
The moment held a strange theatrical unreality, made all 
the more incongruous by the familiar homely surroundings 
of his own living room. 

Hess looked down at the scrubbed stone floor, at the white 
walls with their two pictures. One showed a cavalry charge, 
titled in picturesque scroll, "The Battle before Belfort." The 
other was of a mare and foal in a field: "Mother and Son." 

Mrs. McLean returned with a tray on which were three 


cups and saucers, which David recognized as their best 
china, and a big brown earthenware teapot, a jug of milk 
and a bowl of sugar. 

"Will you have a cup of tea?" she asked Hess. 

It struck neither of them as odd that the pilot should not 
be speaking in German but seemed to understand them 
perfectly. It was all a part of this fantastic, unbelievable 

Hess had stood up when Mrs. McLean entered the room, 
and he shook his head at her offer. 

'TThank you, no," he said. "It is too early for me to drink 
tea, but I would like a glass of water if you have one." 

Annie McLean went out over the stone flags again and 
came back with a glass of water from the tap. Hess drank 
greedily, thanked her, and handed it back. They all sat down 
and the tension eased. Still no one came from outside to their 
aid or to arrest Hess. 

What they had forgotten was that in the blackout, with 
no window or door showing any light all around the farm, 
neither Tom Hyslop nor the Signalers brought from Eagle- 
sham House by William Craig had any clear idea where the 
pilot had gone. They were blundering about with sticks and 
rakes among the bales of hay and oil drums in the barns, 
expecting at any moment to be attacked by some assailant. 
In the darkness every grunt or snort from a cow or a horse 
in the byre seemed like an advance from armed enemies. 

Back in the little house, Hess pulled out a wallet from an. 
inside pocket and extracted a photograph. It showed a small 
boy about three or four standing in a garden. He handed 
it up to David McLean, who passed it on to his mother. 

"My son," Hess explained. "I saw him this morning. But 
I don't know when 111 see him again." 

Mrs. McLean handed back the picture in silence, There 
seemed nothing she could say, but the natural gesture only 
emphasized the strangeness of their meeting. McLean looked 
at Hess quizzically. He certainly seemed old possibly not 
far off fifty to be flying a plane. His eyebrows were dark 

and bushy and overhung his eyes like tufts of black gorse 
on the side of a hill. 

He sat peacefully and apparently at ease in his chair, and 
although he was a prisoner, there remained about him an air 
of authority, of being used to command. His uniform too, 
was of a fine soft cloth, of a quality that McLean, earning 
barely three pounds a week, had never seen before. Hess 
also had a slim expensive gold wristwatch on one wrist and 
on the other a thin gold chain with a small identity disk. 
There was no need to tell an old soldier like David McLean 
that these were not regulation issue. 

The magnificent flying boots lined with fur, more than 
anything else, captured McLean's fancy. Their leather was 
as soft and supple as a pair of handmade gloves. Never 
before had McLean seen boots to compare with these. They 
are the one point of Hess's equipment that still stays most 
vividly in his mind. 

As he stood watching Hess, the total of all these unex- 
pectedly expensive and luxurious things, plus the pilot's re- 
quest to see the Duke of Hamilton, made as calmly as though 
he were paying him a social call, forced him inescapably to 
the conclusion that this parachutist was no ordinary Luft- 
waffe pilot. 

Such men had baled out over Scotland in numbers during 
the previous few months. All that their ill-fitting uniforms 
and undistinguished leather boots had in common with this 
pilot's accouterment was the basic fact that they were both 
uniforms in the same service. This German was clearly, in 
McLean's opinion and vernacular, "a pot." 

"Who did you say you were again?" he asked him. 

"Hauptmann Horn. Alfred Horn," Hess replied. "Haupt- 
mann is the equivalent of your 'Captain.' " 

At that moment there came a banging on the front door. 
McLean looked out. Excited Scottish voices were heard. 
Two Signalers in battle dress with the blue-and-white flashes 
of the Royal Signal Corps on their sleeves burst into the 

"I hear there's a prisoner," one began and, then seeing 
Hess, stopped in mid-sentence. They stared at him for a 
moment, the sight of their first German in uniform draining 
their minds of words. So this was the enemy: tall, rather 
imperious, sitting in the best armchair, legs stretched out. 
This wasn't at all what they had expected. 

"Are you going to take him off?" asked McLean, rather 
surprised by the fact that they had no rifles. What the dick- 
ens was the Army coming to, soldiers coining to seize a 
German prisoner without rifles? The soldiers looked at each 
other; they had apparently not considered what they would 
eventually do with the prisoner once they found him. Clearly 
they must now consider this point. 

As the three Scotsmen stood looking at each other, and 
Hess sat looking at them, his face imperturbable, as much 
at ease as if he were sitting by his own fireside, there came 
a thunder of knocking on the front door. Again those inside 
heard a confused chatter of voices. Two more men crowded 
into the tiny living room. 

One of them wore civilian clothes and a steel helmet 
marked with white letters "Police/ 5 The other was dressed 
in civilian trousers with a Home Guard battle-dress blouse in 
khaki with the words "Home Guard" sewn on each shoulder. 
He had a khaki steel helmet, with the elastic strap under his 
chin. In his right hand he held an enormous Webley revolver 
of a type issued to officers in the First World War. 

"Hands up!" he cried dramatically. Such was the power 
of his command that everyone jumped, and some started to 
raise their arms; then, realizing their mistake, they lowered 
them sheepishly. 

These two late arrivals took charge of the situation. The 
civilian was Robert Williamson, a local engineer, who was 
also a special constable, a part-time policeman, on duty at 
evenings and weekends. The Home Guardsman, Mr. Clark, 
was his next-door neighbor. 

Both had been off duty on that particular Saturday, and 
at home, when they heard the roar of the airplane. William- 

son rushed out into his garden and to his horror saw a para- 
chute descending. He felt certain that this must be a land 
mine, but when no explosion occurred after it had reached 
the ground, he realized he was wrong. 

The Home Guardsman picked up a revolver he had kept 
for just such an emergency for more than twenty years, 
broke it, slipped in six cartridges preserved from that other, 
earlier war, and snapped it shut again. Then he and his 
neighbor grabbed their steel helmets and set off in William- 
son's car. 

As they drove together along the Eaglesham road they 
saw flames from the crashed plane, flickering against the sky 
to the right. They turned off along Floors Road and on to 
Floors Farm; the farmer might have news about who or 
what had landed. In the moonlight they saw men thrashing 
around the yard with sticks. Someone directed them to Mc- 
Lean's house, and they burst into the living room. 

"We were both very excited, and Clark's pistol was waving 
about dangerously," Williamson said later. "Hess was sitting 
on one side of the fire when we went into the cottage, with 
old Mrs. McLean on the other. He was very calm rather 
an impressive figure, with a sort of sardonic smile on his 
face and a twinkle in his very deep-set eyes. We had no 
idea who he was, but he looked important. My first thought 
was that he was very different from the youngsters I had 
always imagined bombing us much older. Honestly, we 
didn't know what to do." * 

"Are you armed?" asked Williamson. 

"No. I am not." 

"Anyone else with you?" 

"No. I flew alone." 

"Is your plane likely to explode? I mean, have you some 
sort of time bomb in it to go off?" 

"No, there's nothing like that in it." 

There were now seven people six men and Mrs. McLean 

* Stephen Watts, "The Aging Parachutist," in The New Yorker, February 
16, 1957. 

in the tiny room, so close together they were almost physi- 
cally touching. One thought was in all their minds. What 
were they to do with their prisoner? Always when German 
airmen had baled out previously, other units, other men, had 
been on duty. Now they had to make the decision. Hess 
might escape if they marched him away anywhere, and 
where indeed could they march him to? Yet clearly he could 
not remain indefinitely in the McLeans' living room. 

It was McLean who finally voiced the question point- 
blank: "What are you going to do with him?" w r hen no one 
seemed ready to answer, he proposed, "Why not take him 
to the police station?" 

"No," replied Williamson. "That's no good. The local 
bobby's only got a small house. He's no cell or anything 

"What about your place?" asked McLean, nodding to the 

They shook their heads uneasily. It would be impossible 
to take a German prisoner, clearly an officer of rank and 
consequence, to an establishment where even the British 
troops were under heavy responsibility not to disclose the 
true nature of their activities. This was not a reason they 
could give, however, and so they said nothing. 

"I'll tell you what we'll do," said the Home Guardsman. 
'We'll take him down to the Home Guard hut at Busby." 

Everyone brightened perceptibly at this suggestion, partly 
because the responsibility would then be someone else's, 
partly because it was so obviously a sound idea. Up and 
down Britain during that summer, unused huts, garages, 
stables and barns were manned every weekend and through- 
out most nights by Home Guardsmen. Most of these men 
had military experience from the First World War, but be- 
cause of either their age, their health or the nature of their 
work, they could take no active part in the Second. 

Since the first invasion scare of 1940, after France capitu- 
lated, they had drilled regularly with pikes, rakes, garden 

forks, shotguns, elephant guns, antiquated pistols, even 
muzzle-loaders, for want of more modern weapons. By the 
time Hess arrived, most were reasonably equipped with 
army surplus Lee-Enfield rifles, Vickers machine guns on 
tripods and other arms only a generation out of date. What 
they might lack in modern armaments, however, they more 
than made up for with their enormous enthusiasm. To intro- 
duce to these keen warriors a living, breathing German from 
the skies would be an enormous fillip to their morale and 
interest. They would guard him with such tenacity that he 
would have no chance of escape. 

"You had better come with us," said Williamson, and 
nodded towards the door. Hess stood up. The others backed 
out into the little corridor of a hall to give him room to 
leave. He turned first to Mrs. McLean and bowed, and then 
to her son. 

"Thank you both," he said gravely. 

Williamson went out first, then Hess, with Clark pressing 
his huge revolver in the small of his back. Describing this 
later in a letter to his wife, Hess admits that he was not 
very happy about being thus led out into the Scottish dark- 
ness, although his account does his captors rather less than 
justice. Recalling the arrival of Clark and Williamson and 
his departure with them, he wrote: 

What happened next was much less encouraging. A civil official 
appeared at the head of a troop of soldiers a man who had quite 
evidently, judging by the smell, been celebrating Saturday with 
good Scottish spirits, probably having taken an extra shot when 
he heard that a German parachutist had come down. 

At any rate, he staggered about in a cloud of alcoholic vapor, 
marching me off and prodding me all the while in the back, 
with a large revolver, his finger never leaving the trigger. ... I 
felt there must have been the finger of God intervening between 
his shaking hand and the impending shot 

The three men climbed into Williamson's car, Hess in 
front, and Clark behind, and drove off down Floors Road. 

Hyslop, racing up past them, had no reason for stopping 
the car. He arrived in the courtyard of Floors Farm to find 
he had missed the German pilot by minutes. 

With the natural wish of a professional policeman to see 
as much of the scene of the incident as possible, he left his 
daughter sitting in his car and went to inspect the plane. 
The flames had died, but smoke was still rising from the 
engines; the silver paint on the fuselage was blistered and 

Some other policemen had arrived with gas masks over 
their shoulders, dressed incongruously in uniform jackets and 
civilian trousers. Hyslop instructed them to keep everyone 
else away from the wreckage, for it was by no means certain 
that fire might not break out again. Also, the plane might 
contain some booby trap which could kill or maim villagers, 
who, in their eagerness for an authentic German souvenir, 
were already trying to tear pieces from the wings and rudder. 

Hyslop shone his shielded torch into the cockpit and round 
the engines. Then he saw something that surprised him. The 
muzzles of the machine guns poking out of the leading edges 
of the wings like stubby black fingers were packed tight with 
grease. Not only had they never been used, but they were 
not intended to be used. 

Clearly, the man who had piloted this plane had not come 
from Germany on a mission of war. 

Clark, Hess and Williamson sat in uneasy proximity 
hunched up in the little English car that was so different 
from the magnificent Mercedes in which Hess had set out 
on his journey. They drove in silence through Waterfoot, 
past the smithy and into the shuttered suburban streets of 

Both Scots were considerably impressed by their passen- 
ger's uniform, and felt they should make some kind of con- 
versation, but neither could think of anything to say that 
would not seem incongruous in the circumstances. Thus they 
drove in silence until they reached their destination, the 

Home Guard headquarters in Arthurlie Street, Giffnock. 
This was a brick Scout hall built shortly before the war. 

"We get out here," Williamson announced as the car 

Hess stood much taller than either of his two companions, 
and even as a captive he had an air of dignity and authority. 
His bearing was that of a man accustomed to command, 
who was suddenly and quite unexpectedly being forced to 
parley with minor and unimportant officials. Doubtless, he 
seemed to feel, someone of authority equal to his own would 
soon arrive and then these petty frustrations and annoyances 
would end. 

"Come on," said Williamson, and he led the way up a 
narrow concrete path towards the hall. Clark marched be- 
hind Hess with his revolver muzzle pressed into the small 
of the German's back. 

"I was more scared of Clark's revolver than anything else/ 5 
Williamson admitted later, "and probably Hess was, too." * 

All the windows in the Scout hall were naturally in dark- 
ness, because of the blackout, but the three men could hear 
voices and movement behind the green painted door. Wil- 
liamson rapped on one of the panels. The talking and the 
laughter stopped. Men shuffled about on the other side of 
the door, and then a voice called out uncertainly, "Who's 

"The police and the Home Guard," replied Williamson 
importantly. "Open up! We've got a German prisoner!" 

The lock was turned, the bolt pulled back and the door 

"Come on in quickly then," said a corporal, his uniform 
blouse unbuttoned, a striped collarless civilian shirt visible 
beneath it. 

Inside the hut twenty or thirty Home Guardsmen off duty 
were preparing for the night. From nails driven into the 
walls hung their gas masks and leather belts and bayonets 
in black leather frogs. They made a singularly unmilitary 

* Ibid. 


spectacle as they stood, in varying stages of undress, by 
their blankets spread out on the floor. Old men with bare 
knobby toes and wearing long woolen pants and sleeved 
vests stared openmouthed in amazement at Hess. Others 
were finishing their suppers fish and chips eaten out o 

This whole tableau of disorder and unpreparedness so 
irritated Clark that on the impulse he shouted, "Turn out 
the Guard!" 

Immediately, the standing figures came to life, but owing 
to the unexpectedness of the order, and their surprise at 
suddenly seeing a German officer in their midst, some 
grabbed the wrong boots and equipment. 

In the middle of this confusion, Williamson glanced side- 
ways at Hess, standing motionless in the doorway; the trace 
of a smile played about his mouth. 

"He was thinking that this couldn't happen in Germany," 
said Williamson later. "I was ashamed, although nobody was 
really to blame." 

Surprisingly quickly, the Home Guardsmen were dressed 
in their uniforms, equipment buckled on, bayonets fixed. 
They ran out of the main door and lined up outside on the 
concrete, to keep away any inquisitive visitors and also to 
prevent any attempt Hess might make to escape. 

To one side of the hall was an anteroom with a cardboard 
notice, "Guard Room," fastened on the door with drawing 

"In there," said Clark, jerking his thumb towards this 

The smile faded from Hess's face. He drew himself up to 
his full height. 

"I am a German officer," he explained stiffly. 

Clark raised his revolver and pushed it into Hess's stom- 

"You'll get in there when you're told," he retorted sharply. 

Williamson held open the door and Hess walked into a 
completely bare room with a whitewashed wall and stained 

floorboards. A thin fiberboard sheet, braced with laths of 
wood, covered the small window. Out-of-date notices about 
Scout camps and woodcraft proficiency tests were still pinned 
on the walls. There were no chairs, no table, not even a box 
on which he could sit. 

Hess looked around this bleak cubicle and then lay down 
on the floor. He stretched out to his full length on the gritty 
boards, and stared up silently and impassively at the single 
yellowish, misty bulb that lit the room. 

Home Guardsmen, peeking around the open door, thought 
that he was in a coma or that he had fainted. Doctors and 
psychiatrists who examined him later on, even his jailers at 
Niirnberg and in Spandau Prison in Berlin, were to be equally 
mystified by this type of behavior. They did not realize that 
Hess was deliberately adopting a Yoga posture of relaxation. 

As a boy, brought up in Alexandria where his father was 
a merchant of some consequence, Hess had frequently 
watched Arabs when they prepared for arduous camel jour- 
neys across the desert. They would lie down on the warm 
sand with their muscles relaxed and minds cleared of all 
thought. Within minutes, they would arise, refreshed. 

Hess learned from them the secret of this gift. Years later, 
at Nazi rallies, when he would deputize for Hitler because 
of his commanding presence, his strictly "Aryan" good looks 
and his histrionic ability, Hess would often ask for the use 
of an empty room an hour before the meeting was due to 
begin. There he would stretch out, just as he stretched out 
on the floor of the Scout hut in Busby, and as he had lain 
on his bedroom floor in Munich earlier on that same day. 

One kindhearted Home Guardsman felt sorry for this Ger- 
man officer lying full length on the bare floorboards. On the 
impulse, he picked up a bottle of milk which he should have 
used for the tea of his platoon, pulled out the cardboard top, 
and handed the bottle to Hess to drink. The Deputy Fiihrer 
was much touched; afterwards he described this unknown 
soldier to his wife as "a really nice little Tommy/' 

At this moment, Hyslop arrived and Hess stood up and 

bowed gravely to him, and to some other army and R.A.F. 
officers who came with him. Hess held up his arms obedi- 
ently while they searched his pockets. Someone carried a 
small table into the guard room and each article they found 
on him was placed on it, like exhibits in a police court. 

There was an envelope addressed to the Duke of Hamilton, 
a small hypodermic syringe and a flat box, the size of a tin 
of fifty cigarettes, which contained an assortment of home- 
opathic drugs. One was an elixir, which Hess explained had 
come from a Tibetan lamasery; it was supposed to be a cure 
for gall bladder complaints. There were also various vitamin 
concoctions, some glucose tablets and sedative drugs.* 

Apart from his clothes, the only other possessions he had 
were his watch, a camera, and several photographs of him- 
self and his four-year-old son, Wolf Rudiger. One of these 
showed the boy with his mother, Use Hess. He also had two 
visiting cards, one in the name of Prof. Karl Haushofer, the 
other engraved with the name of his son, Albrecht. This 
second card was sewn inside his uniform jacket. 

"What is your name?" asked one of the interrogating offi- 

* A report made on this pharmaceutical collection by the Medical Re- 
search Council about a fortnight afterwards noted, "It seems quite clear 
from the remarkable collection of drugs, that Captain Horn was intent on 
protecting himself against all assault of the devil so far as his flesh was 
concerned, and, if he knew the action of all the drugs he carried, he had 
obviously missed his vocation and ought to have made a very handy prac- 

"He seems to have protected himself (i) against the pains of injury by 
opium alkaloids: (2) against the discomfort of headaches by aspirin, etc., 
(3) against the pains of colic by atropin: (4) against the fatigue of flying 
by pervitin: (5) against the sleeplessness following pervitin by barbiturates: 
(6) against constipation by a saline mixture, and against every other ail- 
ment to which flesh is heir by mixtures of unknown products made up along 
homeopathic lines, i.e., so dilute that it is impossible to say what they are. 

"This reliance upon allopathy for real bodily ailments and his further 
belief in homeopathy for other discomforts seem to represent a curious out- 
look on medical science.** 

-Dr. J. R. Rees, ed., The Case of Rudolf Hess, W. W. Norton & Company, 
Inc., New York, 1948. 

"Alfred Horn/' replied Hess. 



Later, a physician who interviewed liian wrote, "He ap- 
peared to think the assumption of the name Alfred Horn and 
the year's difference in age between Hess and Horn a master- 
stroke of cunning." * 

This was not strictly accurate. Hess borrowed the name 
Alfred from his younger brother; he toot the name Horn 
from his mother-in-law's second husband, an artist of some 
note in Germany. The important thing in selecting a pseudo- 
nym was that it should begin with the same initial letter as 
his real name, in case some of his belongings should bear this 
letter "H." 

Hess gave a false age, one year younger than he really 
was, not as a whim, but for a very sound reason; in the 
German forces, no one over forty-seven, could hold the rank 
of Hauptmann. Had he admitted that he was forty-eight, a 
shrewd British intelligence officer might liave asked him how 
he equated his age with his rank. He did mot choose a higher 
rank because this was the most senior ranl< he had reached 
in the First World War. 

Soon an army truck arrived, and with several officers as 
escort Hess was driven to Maryhill Barracks, Glasgow. 

He complained that his right ankle was causing him great 
pain, so from the barracks he was moved to the military 
hospital in Buchanan Castle, Drymen, a few miles outside 
Glasgow. And all this time he kept insisting that he must 
see the Duke of Hamilton. This was far more important to 
him than any medical treatment. 

Back in the Scout hall at Busby, reaction after the un- 
expected excitement now gripped the Home Guardsmen, 
and the various police and army and R.A.F, officers who had 
gathered there. 

One of these, pondering over the vaguely familiar face of 

* Ibid. 


Hauptmann Horn, suddenly turned to an R.A.F. Wing Com- 

"You know, sir/' he began diffidently, "I believe this man 
is Rudolf Hess, Hitler's Deputy. I've seen him in Germany, 
and the more I think of it the more I'm sure he's Hess." 

The Wing Commander snorted his contempt. "Don't be a 
fool," he said shortly. 


What sort of man was Hess? Why did he suddenly arrive as 
an envoy, uninvited and unannounced, on that Saturday 

The most generally accepted portrait of Hess at that time 
was of Hitler's loyal man Friday. He was like a devoted 
spaniel who could be relied on never to query his master's 
judgment or his acts, who could write a speech or deputize 
for him or conduct a particularly unpleasant inquiry at short 
notice, with no question or complaint. 

As both a person and a personality, Hess was popular in 
Germany for he seemed to embody so many Bavarian quali- 
ties. He was brave, physically strong, he loved his home and 
his son. Also he was of unquestioning loyalty to the Fiihrer, 
and he could drink beer with the best. More important, he 
was also one of Hitler's oldest friends, one of the original 
party members; his party number was 16, while Hitler was 
No. 7, but they stood on much more intimate terms than this 
might suggest. 

Like Rosenberg and Hitler, Hess was born outside Ger- 


many. He was born in Egypt, was a pupil at the German 
school in Alexandria for six years. When he was twelve his 
parents sent him to board at the Evangelisches Padagogium 
in Godesberg am Rhein. 

His father wanted to send him to Oxford, but the outbreak 
of the First World War prevented this. Hess volunteered and 
served with Hitler in the ist Company of the i6th Bavarian 
Reserve Infantry, although they did not meet until after the 
war. Hitler was a dispatch runner, and was gassed. Hess was 
shot in one lung, and later became an officer with the Im- 
perial Flying Corps. After the war, he still wore his old 
sendee uniform, when he studied at the University of Mu- 
nich. This was simply because he could not afford to buy a 
civilian suit. 

At the University Hess came under the influence of a profes- 
sor of a strongly nationalistic turn of mind, Karl Haushofer. 

Before the First World War Haushofer had been military 
attache in the German Embassy in Tokyo. There he had the 
temerity to contradict Kaiser Wilhelm's warning to the West 
that Japan was the "yellow peril." Haushofer advocated an 
alliance between Japan and Germany which could smash 
the Anglo-Saxon world hegemony. This suggestion was 
treated at the time as being insolent and absurd. Haushofer 
lived to see not only his theory of Japan's alliance but also 
his entire conception of German foreign affairs accepted as 
a foundation on which a Nazi-dominated empire could be 

Haushofer was a man of great foresight and, so some said, 
second sight. During the First War he was a general, and 
sometimes, for no obvious cause, he would refuse to travel 
by a given train with his staff, and would make other ar- 
rangements. When pressed for his reasons, he would reply 
that he had a premonition that the train would be bombed. 

"And," Hess said once in admiration, "he was always 
right." ^ 

Such "evidence" of psychic ability impressed Hess enor- 


mously. Hausliofer also believed, quite reasonably, that 
geographical position, climate, and even the substance of 
soils played some part in influencing a country's political 
relationships and reactions. He was ingenious and diligent 
enough to elevate this theory to the level of a science. 

He became professor of geopolitics at the University of 
Munich. His younger son, Albrecht a bachelor, a poet of 
distinction, a musician who delighted in Beethoven's sonatas, 
and a friend of some members of the English aristocracy 
occupied a comparable position as professor of political 
geography and geopolitics at Berlin University. The two 
Haushofers helped, if indirectly, to sow the seeds of Hitler's 
dream to lead a German-controlled Europe that would 
stretch from the Atlantic to the Urals, for it was Karl 
Haushofer's belief that if Germany could capture this area 
they would be masters of the world. 

Hess was much influenced by Haushofer's thinking. Dur- 
ing his days at Munich University, he wrote an essay on 
"The Man Who Will Save Our Country." At that time of ruin 
and inflation in Germany, such a leader needed qualities not 
immediately evident among Hess's contemporaries and 
friends, although Hess felt he would recognize them in a 
stranger. In 1921, when he heard Hitler speak, he realized 
that he had discovered the man he had imagined in his 

"This man will restore Germany to a great place among 
the nations," he declared, and decided to help him in this 
historic task. Apart from a fierce unshakable loyalty to Hitler 
from that time on, Hess held an almost equally strong obses- 
sion against the Russians, 

This had its roots in 1919, when Hess, as a member of a 
small anti-Bolshevik society in Munich, was out in the streets 
distributing anti-Jewish and anti-Communist pamphlets. As 
he returned to the shabby headquarters of his society, he 
saw a Red Guard lorry leaving with his confederates. Hess 
stood back in the shadows until it had gone. All his com- 
rades were later shot. 



Hess was also present when the first serious attempt 
made to break up a Hitler meeting in a Munich brewery in 
November, 1921. More than a hundred intruders, mostly 
Communists, were thrown through doors and windows into 
the streets by about fifty Nazi members. According to Hitler, 
two men especially distinguished themselves. One was Exnile 
Maurice, who later became his chauffeur; the other was 
Rudolf Hess, who took a blow on the head from a beer mug 
aimed at Hitler. Hess still carries the scar. 

Hitler always remembered this incident, and he recalled 
it in Mein Kampf. "Our meeting had hardly begun," he 
wrote, "when my Storm Troopers for so they became from 
that day forth attacked. Like wolves they flung themselves 
in packs of eight and ten. How many of those men I never 
really knew until that day at their head was gallant Rudolf, 
my present secretary, Hess." 

This day was also notable because it saw the beginning 
of the Storm Troopers, the Sturmabteilung. Their first func- 
tion was to protect such rallies and to serve as party police. 
Soon they became Hitler's Praetorian Guard, the real politi- 
cal soldiers of the Nazis. 

Hitler's friendship for Hess was further enhanced when 
the two together were jailed in Landsberg Prison for eight- 
een months for attempting to overthrow the government of 
Bavaria. They were released after serving seven and a half 
months, in which Hitler wrote Mein Kampf. Hess, acting as 
Hitler's secretary, helped him to correct the proofs and added 
some views of his own. 

They were very close in those days. Indeed, Hitler's in- 
terest in Hess even prompted him to suggest a wife for his 
loyal secretary, and his suggestion was taken in such part 
that Hess actually married the girl in question. When Hitler 
and Hess were released from Landsberg, Use was one of 
the party faithfuls who went to meet them. They clubbed 
together with their marks and hired the best car they could 
afford, to make this something of an occasion. It was an an- 


cient Mercedes-Benz with horsehair stuffing coming out of 
the cracked leather seats. 

But when Hitler and Hess walked out of the jail in their 
familiar belted raincoats, hats with snap brims pulled down 
over their eyes, they were so ashamed of this shabby vehicle 
that they ignored it and walked smartly down the street and 
up a side alley. There they waited until it came rattling and 
steaming after them. Then they climbed in unobserved and 
drove away. 

One night, Hitler, Hess, and Use were sitting in the 
Osteria-Bavaria restaurant now renamed the Osteria- 
Italiana in Schellingstrasse, a restaurant much liked by 
students, painters, writers, and artists. 

Use had just resigned from her job in a local antiquarian 
bookshop, and she was undecided whether to enroll as a full- 
time student at the University of Munich where she was 
already taking spare-time English classes or to spend her 
savings on a long holiday in Italy. 

She explained her dilemma to the two friends. "There's a 
third possibility, Use," Hitler said. 

"What's that?" she asked. 

"My dear girl, has it never occurred to you to marry this 
man here?" 

And he pointed at Rudolf Hess. The idea suddenly seemed 
so obvious and so excellent that they were married within 

Some foreign diplomats, advising their governments on 
events in Germany as the Nazis came to power, wrongly 
wrote off Frau Hess as "a squaw" who lived quietly in Mun- 
ich with her small son, while Hess took the salute at the big 
parades, and rode with Hitler through the cheering crowds 
in the bulletproof Mercedes. In fact, Hess, a homely unpre- 
tentious man, needed somewhere to retire from the public 
limelight. Use provided this for him. She was an excellent 
cook, especially of Bavarian dishes. From all indications, 
the marriage was an unusually happy one. 


From the days in the Landsberg Prison on, Hess was Hit- 
ler's personal adjutant and secretary until 1933. Hess wrote 
much of the propaganda during this time, and he enjoyed 
the complete confidence of his leader. His strength and in- 
fluence increased until German universities, schools, even 
some religious organizations, came under his overall control. 
In 1934 he played a notable part in removing Captain Rohm, 
once a colleague, latterly a rival to Hitler. Some said he was 
among the executioners. 

In the following year he signed the anti- Jewish legislation 
that was to play such a large and horrifying part in the Nazi 
regime during the last years of the war. In this year also 
Hitler announced that Hess would take part in the legislation 
of all government departments, as well as being concerned 
with purely party matters. From this date Hess helped with 
the preparation of all Hitler's decrees. 

Three years later, in 1938, Hess became a member of the 
Secret Cabinet Council, then engaged in planning the ag- 
gression that ended in war. When the war began Hess was 
further honored by being appointed to the Ministerial Coun- 
cil for the Defense of the Reich. This contained six mem- 
bers. In these men, under Hitler, was concentrated the ulti- 
mate legislative and executive authority of all Germany. 

Hess was loyal to Hitler to the point of blindness; even 
after landing in Scotland he always lowered his voice re- 
spectfully when he referred to the Fiihrer. Yet he could also 
show surprising gentleness. For example, Professor Haus- 
hofer's wife was partly Jewish. Hess shielded her from Nazi 
criticism and possible persecution. 

Hess was a very superstitious man, and sometimes his 
superstitions were misinterpreted. When his wife Use was 
preparing for the birth of her child, Hess was desperately 
anxious to father a son. He knew the old German belief that 
a summer which sees an unusual number of wasps also sees a 
predominance of male babies. One afternoon during that 
summer, when he and his wife and secretary took tea in the 


garden of their house in Harthauserstrasse, a wide, gray, 
cobbled road in the most exclusive suburb of Munich, a 
number of wasps became stuck in the mouth of the honey 
jar. Hess carefully picked each one out with his spoon, 
washed the honey off, and then put them out in the sun to 
dry. His secretary interpreted this as evidence of his kind 
heart. It was nothing of the sort, but a sign of the strength 
of his superstitions. 

Although he delighted in driving his magnificent Mer- 
cedes sports car painted in a distinctive brown shade which 
made it instantly recognizable, and although he liked flying 
for pleasure, Hess never indulged in the usual crude excesses 
of some Nazis suddenly thrust into positions of power. He 
had no expensive villas, no art treasures "borrowed" from 
museums. His private life was quiet and homely. 

But these were largely negative virtues; there seemed 
little positive to his character. He was not particularly bad 
but was he particularly good? Publicly he supported 
everything that Hitler did. In many public appearances he 
loaded the Fiihrer with fulsome praise. Once in Niirnberg 
shortly before Christmas he said, "We cannot celebrate 
Christmas without thanking with all our hearts the One 
Above who sent the Germans their Fiihrer in this time of 
need and so plainly gave His blessing." 

During the first Christmas of the war, too, Hess wrote 
an open letter to the mother of an illegitimate child whose 
father had been killed during the Polish campaign. This was 
published in all German newspapers. 

"We are no longer concerned with antiquated man-made 
traditions and principles of morality/' Hess declared grandil- 
oquently. "Today Germany needs robust healthy children 
. prepared to take the place of the men we are now losing. 
The birth of a child is the true symbol of Christmas; there- 
fore we extend our protection to all children who may need 

it If a man dies for his country before he is able to 

found a home and family, his children, the product of true 


love, will receive every care. I myself am willing to become 
godfather to all illegitimate children whose fathers lose their 
lives in the war." 

This was a public declaration. Privately, his views on 
morality were more orthodox. "If my son Wolf would . . . 
produce offspring without my knowing it, so to speak be- 
hind my back, and not tell me because of pure cowardice, 
there would be a hell of a lot of trouble," he wrote to his 
wife later. 

To many Germans in the thirties Hess seemed a symbol 
of what was best in the Nazi party's rather dubious pro- 

Hitler nominated Goring as his successor, with Hess next 
in line, but Hess stood closest to the Fiihrer, for he was re- 
sponsible not to the party but to Hitler alone. Also, Hess 
controlled the Verbindungsstab, a group that reported on 
the activities of many people holding high office in Germany. 
In addition to this it directed the operations of overseas 
agents and others sympathetic to German aims and ambi- 

The Verbindungsstab worked in close touch with the AO, 
Auslandorganisation, with which Hess's former teacher, Pro- 
fessor Haushofer, was closely associated. This dealt ostensi- 
bly with the problems of Germans living in foreign lands, 
but was also used as a convenient cover for various intelli- 
gence activities in these countries and elsewhere. 

Haushofer's academic career did not prevent him from 
taking an active interest in practical politics. During the rise 
of the Nazi party, he had often made his views known and 
had had the satisfaction of seeing much of his thinking 
adopted by Hitler and Hess. 

Some Western politicians of the time saw Haushofer as 
an eminence grise, but that was wishful thinking. He was 
said to control a staff of two thousand strategists, physicists, 
meteorologists, engineers and economists, who checked the 
information Hess supplied through spies and other agents 
for Hitler's "Strategic Index." This was just not so. Karl 


Haushofer ran the Geopolitical Institute with one assistant 
and a typist. 

Haushofer was also the part-time president of the Ger- 
man Academy, but he received no pay for his work apart 
from his pension as a General. He owed his position of es- 
teem in the Nazi organization partly to his intellectual record 
over the years and partly to the fact that several of his 
policies, including that of Lebensraum room to live and 
his theory of the "haves and have not" were adopted by the 
Nazis as their own. 

Politically, Haushofer, according to his surviving son, Dr. 
Heinz Haushofer, was in his early years a Bavarian mon- 
archist of the old school. After the German defeat in 1918, 
however, he had realized that the monarchy could never be 
restored. Moreover, as a teacher at the military academy in 
Munich after the First War, he had experienced the full 
harshness of the Versailles Treaty. In his opinion, and in 
the view of the men he taught, this demeaned Germany in 
the eyes of the world. 

Haushofer's part, in Hitler's organization, was motivated 
essentially, it would seem, by his patriotism. Aware that 
monarchy was a thing of the past and mindful of Germany's 
sufferings after the Versailles Treaty, he lent his support to 
everyone who tried to improve his country's position. Hitler, 
Hess and the rest came into this category. Moreover, he 
made the most of his position as elder statesman under the 
Nazi regime. 

Haushofer was against making war with England. He ad- 
mired the liberal ideals of many Englishmen. He pointed out 
that both races came from a common Germanic strain. He 
had traveled widely: to India where he met Kitchener and 
wrote a brief biography of him; to the Himalayas where the 
magic of the mountains laid their spell on him; to Japan, to 
France, to many European countries. His travels and his ex- 
perience and his own inner feelings all supported his wish to 
avert a war with the only other European race with whom 
the Germans had much in common the English. 

His enormous influence played on Hitler at the time of 
Munich. Heinz Haushofer goes so far as to say that his father 
"forced" this agreement on the Fiihrer. Certainly his father 
returned to his farm when the agreement was signed and 
told his family, "With this Munich agreement we can make 
German foreign policy for the next ten years." 

He was so sure of this that he actually framed a copy of 
the front page of the Nazi newspaper, the Volkischer Beo- 
bachter, that gave details of Hitler's meeting with Chamber- 
lain at Berchtesgaden. On the day war broke out a year 
later, his wife wrote across this page, "Please keep as a 
memory of a great illusion." 

After Munich, in the autumn of 1938, Haushofer prevailed 
upon Hess to arrange a private interview for him with Hitler 
tinier uier Augen, under four eyes, meaning alone and face 
to face with no one to overhear them. 

Haushofer had just returned from a conference of a 
learned society, the Volta Society, in Rome. The subject un- 
der discussion had been Africa. Haushofer had talked with 
the English and French delegates and received the impres- 
sion, either rightly or wrongly, that it might be possible 
for Germany to be given control of some territories within 
this continent; he had in mind the Cameroons. 

This belief he reported to Hitler in the Home Office in 

"If we abide by the Munich agreement, I am certain that 
we will be given something," he said. "I suggest that you 
should pay a special visit to England after aU, mem Fiihrer, 
Mr. Chamberlain came here to see you. This will be inter- 
preted in Britain as a friendly gesture and will do Germany 
a great deal of good. But, above all, make no moves in the 
east, especially with regard to Poland, without discussing 
them first with the Western powers.* 

At this, Hitler stood up and, without a word, turned on 
his heel and walked out of the room. He did not even say 
goodbye. Haushofer sat alone for a few minutes, thinking 

* Interview by the author with Dr. Heinz Haushofer. 

that the Fiihrer might return; he did not. This was the last 
time that Haushofer saw him. 

Despite this unpromising reception, the old man remained 
convinced that he was right and Hitler was wrong. After the 
defeat of France, Haushofer used his influence with Hess to 
try to persuade Hitler to offer peace terms to Britain. Hitler 
wanted to attack Russia. Hess, Haushofer and Goring 
warned him of the deadly danger of fighting on two fronts 
about which he had written himself in Mein Kampf. 

"There will be no war on two fronts/' Hitler replied. "My 
Atlantic Wall will protect us while we knock out Russia." 

Goring disagreed with this; events would not be so sim- 
ple. "We're fighting against a great world power, the British 
Empire/' he pointed out. "I am definitely of the opinion 
that sooner or later . . . the United States will march against 

"In the case of a clash with Russia, a third great world 
power would be thrown into the struggle and we would 
again stand alone against practically the entire world .,.*** 

Hitler would still not be convinced, but naturally he was 
willing to negotiate peace with Britain if he could, for this 
would leave him with only his eastern frontier to consider. 
He was agreeable to such propositions being fully explored, 
but of course he could take no part in the early stages of any 
negotiations. If word of his intentions leaked out prematurely 
in Germany, the effect of his declamations about an all-out 
effort to crush the enemy would be undermined, possibly 

But this did not mean that he did not want peace with 
Britain although naturally on his terms as Mussolini dis- 
covered. In June, 1940, after France fell, Mussolini traveled 
with his son-in-law and Foreign Minister, Ciano, to Munich; 
he was anxious to take over as much as possible of the French 
empire in North Africa, plus Nice, Corsica, French Somali- 

*Willi Frischauer, The Rise and Fall of Hermann Goering, Odhams 
Press, London, 1951. 


land, Tunisia and other important concessions. To his sur- 
prise, Hitler refused to make any demands on the French 
that might encourage them to continue the fight against 
Germany, either from North Africa or from England. 

Ciano asked Ribbentrop bluntly, "Does Germany at the 
present moment prefer peace or the prosecution of the 
war?" * Ribbentrop replied with one word: "Peace." 

Ribbentrop added that Britain had already been informed 
of this wish through certain contacts in Sweden. To Hitler's 
surprise these produced no reply. Then, on June 18, Churchill 
told the House of Commons that the British Government 
would fight on, whatever the odds, "so that, if the British 
Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, 
men will still say, 'This was their finest hour/ " 

Word reached Churchill that a message had been sent 
from the Vatican, by way of Berne, in neutral Switzerland, 
on the subject of peace negotiations. On June 28 he sent a 
minute to Anthony Eden, his Foreign Secretary: "I hope it 
will be made clear to the Nuncio that we do not desire to 
make any inquiries as to terms of peace with Hitler, and that 
all our agents are strictly forbidden to entertain any such 
suggestions/' f 

Five days later, on July 3, the British navy bombarded the 
French fleet lying at Oran on the North African coast. These 
were the results of Hitler's peace feelers; the answer clearly 

**XT " 

was No. 

Nevertheless, Hitler waited for twelve more days, in the 
hope that such warlike words and deeds might conceal some 
peaceful intent. Then he addressed the Reichstag on the 
matter. "Mr. Churchill ought perhaps, for once, to believe 
me when I prophesy that a great Empire will be destroyed 
an Empire which it was never my intention to destroy or 
even to harm/' he declared. 

"I feel it to be my duty before my own conscience to ap- 

* Malcolm Muggeridge, ecL, Ciano's Diplomatic Papers, Odhams Press, 
London, 1948. Also Alan Bullock, Hitler, a Study in Tyranny, Harper & 
Brothers, New York, 1953. 

f Winston S. Churchill, The Second World War, vol. 2, Their Finest 
Hour, Houghton MifHin Company, Boston, 1949. 

peal once more to reason and common sense in Great Britain 
as elsewhere. I consider myself in a position to make this 
appeal since I am not the vanquished begging favors, but 
the victor speaking in the name of reason. I can see no reason 
why the war must go on" . . .* 

"Naturally," wrote Churchill later, "Hitler would be very 
glad, after having subjugated Europe to his will, to bring 
the war to an end by procuring British acceptance of what 
he had done. It was, in fact, an offer not of peace but of 
readiness to accept the surrender by Britain of all she had 
entered the war to maintain." f 

In Germany, Haushofer still hoped that some peace ne- 
gotiations could be satisfactorily arranged. 

On September 3, 1940 exactly one year to the day after 
the war began he wrote to his son Albrecht about a meet- 
ing with Hess, to whom he referred as Tomo for reasons of 
security. It lasted "from 5:00 o'clock in the afternoon until 
2:00 o'clock in the morning, which included a 3-hour walk 
in the Griinwalder Forest, at which we conversed a good 
deal about serious matters. I have really got to tell you about 
a part of it now. 

"As you know, everything is so prepared for a very hard 
and severe attack on the island in question that the highest- 
ranking person only has to press a button to set it off. But 
before this decision, which is perhaps inevitable, the thought 
once more occurs as to whether there is really no way of stop- 
ping something which would have such infinitely momentous 
consequences. There is a line of reasoning in connection with 
this which I must absolutely pass on to you because it was 
obviously communicated to me with this intention. Do you, 
too, see no way in which such possibilities could be discussed 
at a third place with a middleman, possibly the old Ian Ham- 
ilton or the other Hamilton.*"* 

* My New Order (Hitler's Speeches 1922-43) edited by Gordon W. 
Prange, American Council of Public Affairs, Washington, 1944. 

f The Second World War, vol. 2, Their Finest Hour. 

Sir Ian S. M. Hamilton (1853-1947), British general and author. 

** On the basis of references later in this correspondence, the reference 
here is to Douglas Douglas-Hamilton, Duke of Hamilton. 


"I replied to these suggestions that there would perhaps 
have been an excellent opportunity for this in Lisbon at the 
Centennial,* if, instead of harmless figureheads, it had been 
possible to send well-disguised political persons there. In this 
connection it seems to me a stroke of fate that our old friend, 
Missis [sic] V. R., evidently, though after long delay, finally 
found a way of sending a note with cordial and gracious 
words of good wishes not only for your mother, but also for 
Heinz f and me, and added the address. 

"Address your reply to: Miss V. Roberts, % Postbox 506, 
Lisbon, Portugal. I have the feeling that no good possibility 
should be overlooked; at least it should be well considered." 

A week later, on September 10, Hess wrote to Karl 


Albrecht brought me your letter, which, at the beginning, be- 
sides containing official information, alluded to our walk together 
on the last day of August, which I, too, recall with so much 

Albrecht will have told you about our conversation, which be- 
sides volksdeutsch matters, above all touched upon the other 
matter, which is so close to the hearts of us both. I reconsidered 
the latter carefully once more and have arrived at the following 

Under no condition must we disregard the contact or allow it 
to die aborning. I consider it best that you or Albrecht write to 
the old lady, who is a friend of your family, suggesting that she 
try to ask Albrecht's friend whether he would be prepared if 
necessary to come to the neutral territory in which she resides, 
or at any rate has an address through which she can be reached, 
just to talk with Albrecht. 

If he could not do this just now, he might, in any case, send 

* On June 2, 1940, Portugal had begun a series of celebrations com- 
memorating the Sooth anniversary o the foundation of the state and sooth 
anniversary of the restoration of national independence. 

f Dr. Heinz Haushofer, brother of Albrecht. 

Ernst Wilhelm Bohle, the Yorkshire-born chief of certain fifth-column 
activities. He was nominated to be Gauleiter of Great Britain when Ger- 
many won the war. 

word through her where he expects to be in the near future. 
Possibly a neutral acquaintance, who had some business to attend 
to over there anyway, might look him up and make some com- 
munication to him, using you or Albrecht as reference. 

This person probably would not care to have to inquire as to 
his whereabouts only after he got there or to make futile trips. 
You thought that knowing about his whereabouts had no military 
significance at all; if necessary you would also pledge yourselves 
not to make use of it with regard to any quarter which might 
profit from it. What the neutral would have to transmit would be 
of such great importance that his having made known his where- 
abouts would be by comparison insignificant. 

The prerequisite naturally was that the inquiry in question and 
the reply would not go through official channels, for you would 
not in any case want to cause your friends over there any trouble. 

It would be best to have the letter to the old lady with whom 
you are acquainted delivered through a confidential agent of the 
AO [Auslandorganisation] to the address that is known to you. 
For this purpose Albrecht would have to speak either with 
Bohle * or my brother. At the same time the lady would have to 
be given the address of this agent in L. or if the latter does not 
live there permanently, of another agent of the AO who does 
live there permanently to which the reply can in turn be de- 

As for the neutral I have in mind, I would like to speak to you 
orally about it some time. There is no hurry about that since, in 
any case, there would first have to be a reply received here from 
over there. 

Meanwhile let's both keep our fingers crossed. Should success 
be the fate of the enterprise, the oracle given to you with regard 
to the month of August would yet be fulfilled, since the name of 
the young friend and the old lady friend of your family occurred 
to you during our quiet walk on the last day of the month. 

With best regards to you and to Martha, 
Yours, as ever, 
Rfudolf] H[ess] 
Can be reached by telephone through: Linz-Gallspach A. 

Five days after this, on September 15, Albrecht Haushofer 
wrote a memo on his meeting with Hess during the previous 

* This sentence is in English in the original. 


week. It was marked TOP SECRET and headed "Are There 
Still Possibilities of a German-English Peace?": * 

On September 8, I was summoned to Bad G. [Godesberg] to 
report to the Deputy of the Fiihrer on the subject discussed in 
this memorandum. The conversation which the two of us had 
alone lasted 2 hours. I had the opportunity to speak in all frank- 

I was immediately asked about the possibilities of making 
known to persons of importance in England Hitler's serious de- 
sire for peace. It was quite clear that the continuance of the war 
was suicidal for the white race. Even with complete success in 
Europe, Germany was not in a position to take over inheritance 
of the Empire. The Fiihrer had not wanted to see the Empire 
destroyed and did not want it even today. Was there not some- 
body in England who was ready for peace? 

First I asked for permission to discuss fundamental things. It 
was necessary to realize that not only Jews and Freemasons, but 
practically all Englishmen who mattered, regarded a treaty 
signed by the Fiihrer as a worthless scrap of paper. To the 
question as to why this was so, I referred to the 10-year term 
of our Polish Treaty, to the Nonaggression Pact with Denmark 
signed only a year ago, to the "final" frontier demarcation of 
Munich. What guarantee did England have that a new treaty 
would not be broken again at once if it suited us? It must be 
realized that, even in the Anglo-Saxon world, the Fiihrer was 
regarded as Satan's representative on earth and had to be fought. 

If the worst came to the worst, the English would rather trans- 
fer their whole Empire bit by bit to the Americans than sign a 
peace that left to National Socialist Germany the mastery of 
Europe. The present war, I am convinced, shows that Europe has 
become too small for its previous anarchic form of existence; it 
is only through close German-English cooperation that it can 
achieve a true federative order (based by no means merely on 
the police rule of a single power), while maintaining a part of 
its world position and having security against Soviet Russian 
Eurasia. France was smashed, probably for a long time to come, 

* Part of the files of the Haushofer family, seized after the war and now 
in the World War II Records Division of the National Archives in Alex- 
andria, Va. See "Guide to German Records Microfilmed at Alexandria," 
No. 9., p. 11, etseq. 

4 8 

and we had opportunity currently to observe what Italy is ca- 
pable of accomplishing. As long, however, as German-English 
rivalry existed, and in so far as both sides thought in terms of 
security, the lesson of this war was this: Every German had to 
tell himself: we have no security as long as provision is not made 
that the Atlantic gateways of Europe from Gibraltar to Narvik 
are free of any possible blockade. That is: there must be no 
English fleet. Every Englishman must, however, under the same 
conditions, argue: we have no security as long as anywhere 
within a radius of 2,000 kilometers from London there is a plane 
that we do not control. That is: there must be no German air 

There is only one way out of this dilemma: friendship intensi- 
fied to fusion, with a joint fleet, a joint air force, and joint de- 
fense of possessions in the world just what the English are now 
about to conclude with the United States. 

Here I was interrupted and asked why, indeed, the English 
were prepared to seek such a relationship with America and not 
with us. My reply was: because Roosevelt is a man, and repre- 
sents a Weltanschauung and a way of life that the Englishman 
thinks he understands, to which he can become accustomed, even 
where it does not seem to be to his liking. Perhaps he fools him- 
self but, at any rate, that is what he believes. 

A man like Churchill himself half -American is convinced of 
it. Hitler, however, seems to the Englishman the incarnation of 
what he hates, that he has fought against for centuries. This feel- 
ing grips the workers no less than the plutocrats. 

In fact, I am of the opinion that those Englishmen who have 
property to lose, that is, precisely the portions of the so-called 
plutocracy that count, are those who would be readiest to talk 

But even they regard a peace only as an armistice. I was com- 
pelled to express these things so strongly because I ought not 
precisely because of my long experience in attempting to effect 
a settlement with England in the past and my numerous English 
friendships to make it appear that I seriously believe in the pos- 
sibility of a settlement between Adolf Hitler and England in the 
present stage of development. I was thereupon asked whether I 
was not of the opinion that feelers had perhaps not been success- 
ful because the right language had not been used. I replied that, 


to be sure, if certain persons, whom we both knew well, were 
meant by this statement, then certainly the wrong language had 
been used. But at the present stage this had little significance. 
I was then asked directly why all Englishmen were so opposed 
to Herr v. R[ibbentrop]. I conceded that in the eyes of the 
English, Herr v. R., like some other personages, played, to be 
sure, the same role as did Duff Cooper, Eden, and Churchill in 
the eyes of the Germans. In the case of Herr v. R., there was also 
the conviction, precisely in the view of Englishmen who were 
formerly friendly to Germany, that from completely biased mo- 
tives he had informed the Fiihrer wrongly about England and 
that he personally bore an unusually large share of the responsi- 
bility for the outbreak of the war. 

But I again stressed the fact that the rejection of peace feelers 
by England was today due not so much to persons as to the 
fundamental outlook mentioned above. 

Nevertheless, I was asked to name those who I thought might 
be reached as possible contacts. 

I mentioned, among diplomats, Minister O'Malley in Budapest, 
the former head of the Southeastern Department of the Foreign 
Office, a clever person in the higher echelons of officialdom, but 
perhaps without influence precisely because of his former friend- 
liness toward Germany; Sir Samuel Hoare, who is half shelved 
and half on the watch in Madrid, whom I do not know well per- 
sonally, but to whom I can at any time open a personal path; 
as the most promising, the Washington Ambassador Lothian, 
with whom I have had close personal connections for years, who 
as a member of the highest aristocracy and at the same time as 
a person of very independent mind is perhaps best in a position 
to undertake a bold step provided that he could be convinced 
that even a bad and uncertain peace would be better than the 
continuance of the war a conviction at which he will only ar- 
rive if he convinces himself in Washington that English hopes Of 
America are not realizable. 

Whether or not this is so could only be judged in Washington 
itself; from Germany not at all. As the final possibility I then 
mentioned that of a personal meeting on neutral soil, with the 
closest of my English friends: the young Duke of Hamilton, who 
has access at all times to all important persons in London, even 
to Churchill and the King. I stressed in this case the inevitable 
difficulty of making a contact and again repeated my conviction 


of the improbability of its succeeding whatever approach we 

The upshot of the conversation was H.'s statement that he 
would consider the whole matter thoroughly once more and send 
me word in case I was to take steps. For this extremely ticklish 
case, and in the event that I might possibly have to make a trip 
alone I asked for very precise directives from the highest au- 
thority. From the whole conversation I had the strong impression 
that it was not conducted without the prior knowledge of the 
Fiihrer, and that I probably would not hear any more about the 
matter unless a new understanding had been reached between 
him and his Deputy. 

Eight days after this, on September 23, Albrecht Haus- 
hofer reported to the Deputy Fuhrer on what he had done: 


In accordance with your last telephone call I got in touch with 
your brother immediately. Everything went off well, and I can 
now report that the mission has been accomplished to the extent 
that the letter you desired was written and dispatched this morn- 
ing. It is to be hoped that it will be more efficacious than sober 
judgment would indicate. 

Yours, etc. 

He sent a copy of this letter to his father by the same 
post, and although he had done all that had been asked of 
him, he was by no means confident of the result. He wrote 
to his father: 


I am enclosing the copy of a short letter of serious contents, 
which perhaps had better be kept by you than by me. I have 
now made it clear enough that in the action involved I did not 
take the initiative. . . . 

Now to the English matters. I am convinced, as before, that 
there is not the slightest prospect of peace; and so I don't have 
the least faith in the possibility about which you know. How- 
ever, I also believe that I could not have refused my services any 
longer. You know that for myself I do not see any possibility of 
any satisfying activity in the future. . . . 


Albreclit also wrote privately to both his parents: 

The whole thing is a fool's errand,* but we cannot do anything 
about that. According to our latest reports the treaties of union 
between the Empire and the United States are about to be 

He enclosed copies of what he called "important docu- 
ments/' With these he sent a copy of his letter to Hess. It 
was marked TOP SECRET: 

September 19, 1940. 

Your letter of the loth reached me yesterday after a delay 
caused by the antiquated postal service of Partnach-Alm. I again 
gave a thorough study to the possibilities discussed therein and 
request before taking the steps proposed that you yourself 
examine once more the thoughts set forth below. 

I have in the meantime been thinking of the technical route 
by which a message from me must travel before it can reach the 
Duke of H[amilton]. With your help, delivery to Lisbon can of 
course be assured without difficulty. About the rest of the route 
we do not know. Foreign control must be taken into account; the 
letter must therefore in no case be composed in such a way that 
it will simply be seized and destroyed or that it will directly en- 
danger the woman transmitting it or the ultimate recipient. 

In view of my close personal relations and intimate acquaint- 
ance with Douglas H[amilton] I can write a few lines to him 
(which should be enclosed with the letter to Mrs. R., without 
any indication of place and without a full name an A. would 
suffice for signature) in such a way that he alone will recognize 
that behind my wish to see him in Lisbon there is something 
more serious than a personal whim. All the rest, however, seems 
to be extremely hazardous and detrimental to the success o the 

Let us suppose that the case were reversed: an old lady in 
Germany receives a letter from an unknown source abroad, with 
the request to forward a message whose recipient is asked to 
disclose to an unknown foreigner where he will be staying for 
a certain period and this recipient were a high officer in the 

* The preceding part of this sentence is in English in the original. 

air force (of course I do not know exactly what position H. holds 
at the moment; judging from his past I can conceive of only three 
things: He is an active air force general, or he directs the air de- 
fense of an important part of Scotland, or he has a responsible 
position in the Air Ministry). 

I do not think that you need much imagination to picture to 
yourself the faces that Canaris or Heydrich would make and the 
smirk with which they would consider any offer of "security" or 
"confidence" in such a letter if a subordinate should submit such 
a case to them. They would not merely make faces, you may be 
certain! The measures would come quite automatically and 
neither the old lady nor the air force officer would have an 
easy time of it! In England it is no different. 

Now another thing. Here too I would ask you to picture the 
situation in reverse. Let us assume that I received such a letter 
from one of my English friends. I would quite naturally report 
the matter to the highest German authorities I could contact, as 
soon as I had realized the import it might have, and would ask 
for instructions on what I should do myself (at that, I am a 
civilian and H. is an officer). 

If it should be decided that I was to comply with the wish for 
a meeting with my friend, I would then be most anxious to get 
my instructions if not from the Fiihrer himself, at least from a per- 
son who receives them directly and at the same time has the gift of 
transmitting the finest and lightest nuances an art which has 
been mastered by you yourself but not by all Reich Ministers. 
In addition, I should very urgently request that my action be fully 
covered vis-a-vis other high authorities of my own country 
uninformed or unfavorable. 

It is not any different with H. He cannot fly to Lisbon any 
more than I can! unless he is given leave, that is, unless at least 
Air Minister Sinclair and Foreign Minister Halifax know about 
it. If, however, he receives permission to reply or to go, there is 
no need of indicating any place in England; if he does not receive 
it, then any attempt through a neutral mediator would also have 
little success. 

In this case the technical problem of contacting H. is the 
least of the difficulties. A neutral who knows England and can 
move about in England presumably there would be little sense 
in entrusting anyone else with such a mission will be able to 


find the first peer of Scotland very quickly as long as conditions 
in the Isle are still halfway in order. (At the time of a successful 
invasion all the possibilities we are discussing here would be 
pointless anyway.) 

My proposal is therefore as follows: 

Through the old friend I will write a letter to H. in a form 
that will incriminate no one but will be understandable to the 
recipient with the proposal for a meeting in Lisbon. If nothing 
comes of that, it will be possible (if the military situation leaves 
enough time for it), assuming that a suitable intermediary is 
available, to make a second attempt through a neutral going to 
England, who might be given a personal message to take along. 
With respect to this possibility, I must add, however, that H. is 
extremely reserved as many English are toward anyone they do 
not know personally. Since the entire Anglo-German problem 
after all springs from a most profound crisis in mutual con- 
fidence, this would not be immaterial. 

Please excuse the length of this letter, I merely wished to ex- 
plain the situation to you fully. 

I already tried to explain to you not long ago that, for the 
reasons I gave, the possibilities of successful efforts at a settle- 
ment between the Fiihrer and the British upper class seem to me 
to my extreme regret infinitesimally small. 

Nevertheless I should not want to close this letter without 
pointing out once more that I still think there would be a some- 
what greater chance of success in going through Ambassador 
Lothian in Washington or Sir Samuel Hoare in Madrid rather 
than through my friend H. To be sure, they are politically 
speaking more inaccessible. 

Would you send me a Hne or give me a telephone call with 
final instructions? If necessary, will you also inform your brother 
in advance? Presumably I will then have to discuss with him the 
forwarding of the letter to Lisbon and the arrangement for a 
cover address for the reply in L[isbon]. 

With cordial greetings and best wishes for your health. 

Yours, etc. 

A[lbrecht] H[aushofer] 

He attached a draft of another letter to the Duke of Hamil- 



Even if this letter has only a slight chance of reaching you 
there is a chance and I want to make use of it. 

First of all to give you a sign of unaltered and unalterable 
personal attachment. I do hope you have been spared in all this 
ordeal and I hope the same is true of your brothers. I heard of 
your father's deliverance from long suffering; and I heard that 
your brother-in-law Northumberland lost his life near Dunkerque. 
I need hardly tell you how I feel about all that 

Now there is one thing more. If you remember some of my 
last communications before the war started, you will realize 
that there is a certain significance in the fact that I am, at 
present, able to ask you whether there is the slightest chance of 
our meeting and having a talk somewhere on the outskirts of 
Europe, perhaps in Portugal. There are some things I could tell 
you, that might make it worth while for you to try a short trip to 
Lisbon if you could make your authorities understand so much 
that they would give you leave. As to myself I could reach 
Lisbon any time (without any kind of difficulty) within a few 
days after receiving news from you. If there is an answer to this 
letter, please address it to . . ." * 

* The draft letter is in English in the original. The Duke of Hamilton's 
report of his interview with Hess on May 11, 1941, is printed in The Trial 
of the Major War Criminals Before the International Military Tribunal, 
Documents in Evidence, Niirnberg, 1948, vol. 38, Document No. n6-M, 
This refers to a letter dated Sept. 23, 1940, from Albrecht Haushofer. The 
excerpt printed here is evidently a draft of that letter. See also Rainer Hilde- 
brandt, Wir sind die Letzten: Aus dem Leben des Widerstandskampfers 
Albrecht Haushofer und seiner Freunde y Neuwied-Berlin, Michael Verlag, 
1949, p. no. 



The Duke never received the final letter from Haushofer; it 
was intercepted by British Intelligence officers. 

Albrecht Haushofer had been wise in being pessimistic. 
These attempts to make contact with the British were as 
unsuccessful as the earlier attempts through Berne and the 
Vatican. They were of course known to Hitler, whose dis- 
appointment and traculence increased with their failure. 

"Hitler," so Ciano noted, "would like an understanding 
with Great Britain. He knows that war with the British will 
be hard and bloody, and knows also that people everywhere 
are averse from bloodshed." * 

But week merged into week, and month into month, and 
still no word came from the British either in secret or openly 
that they would be prepared to make peace. With each hour 
that passed, the need for this to happen became more urgent, 
for the date of "Barbarossa," the code name for the attack 
on Russia, grew ever more imminent. 

If Britain could be persuaded to come to terms, perhaps 
even to help and certainly to condone war against Russia, 

* Ciano' $ Diplomatic Papers, p. 381. 


there could be no doubt as to the outcome of "Barbarossa"; 
it would be a certain victory won on a single front. As long 
as eight years earlier, Leon Trotsky* had laid down the 
ideal conditions for such a German attack on the Soviet 

"An attack upon the West could only be carried out on 
condition of a military alliance between Germany and the 
Soviet," he declared. This already existed. "The attack 
against the East could only take place with the support of 
one or more powerful States of the West" This Hess deter- 
mined to engineer. 

Haushofer had already told him that the Duke of Hamil- 
ton was Lord Steward and he thought "a personage like that 
would probably be dining every night with the King, and 
would have his private ear. Here was a channel of direct 
access." f 

Moreover, Professor Haushofer had also told Hess that he 
had experienced three dreams on three separate nights in 
which he saw Hess piloting an airplane to some unknown 
but important destination. In yet another dream he had seen 
Hess walking in some great castle with tartan tapestries on 
its walls. With Hess's own recollection of Haushofer's ap- 
parent gift of premonition twenty-four years earlier on the 
western front, these remarks made a great impression on 
him. Nor was the fact that the Duke of Hamilton was the 
premier Scottish Duke who might be expected to have tar- 
tan tapestries in his home lost upon Hess. 

Later, reviewing his thoughts at this time, Hess recalled 
that there were acts of war between England and Germany, 
in the course of which the former suffered more damage than 
did Germany; so that he felt England could not give way 
without suffering a severe loss of prestige. In a statement 
Hess made to Sir John Simon on June 9, 1941, he said: 

I then said to myself, "This is the moment when your plan 
must really be carried out, for if you are over in England this 

* Article in Sunday Chronicle, Manchester, September 19, 1Q33- 
f The Second World War, vol. 3, The Grand Alliance. 


might prove an occasion for England to enter into discussions, 
without loss of prestige." It was my opinion that, apart from the 
conditions necessary for an understanding, there was a general 
mistrust to be overcome. 

I was confronted by a very hard decision. I do not think I 
could have arrived at my final choice unless I had continually 
kept before my eyes the vision of an endless line of children's 
coffins with weeping mothers behind them, both English and 
German, and another line of coffins of mothers with mourning 

Albrecht Haushofer had been on friendly terms with the 
Duke for some years before the war. Indeed, when Ribben- 
trop, as German Ambassador to Britain, had antagonized 
many people in that country by his attitude, and his habit 
of giving the Nazi salute in public, Haushofer came over to 
try to smooth matters out and to persuade Ribbentrop to 
change his ways. On this occasion, he stayed with the Duke 
of Hamilton in his London house. 

But Haushofer's letter of September 23, 1940, written at 
the height of the Battle of Britain, was never delivered to 
the Duke. Instead, some months later, in early 1941, when 
reverses were being endured by British armies in the North 
African desert, the Duke received a casual and very infor- 
mal letter from a senior intelligence officer in the R.A.F., a 
Group Captain whom he knew slightly. 

In this note the Group Captain asked him to "drop in and 
see me whenever you are next in London." The Duke had a 
short leave due about a fortnight after this letter arrived, 
and, being in London, called to see the Group Captain at his 
office in one of the Air Ministry buildings. 

The Group Captain motioned him to a seat. 

"Now, what have you done with the letter Haushofer 
wrote you?" he began conversationally. 

The Duke thought that he referred to a letter that Al- 
brecht Haushofer had sent him just before the war, and 
which he had shown at that time to the proper authorities. 

"No, no, not that one," said the intelligence officer. "The 


one you've just received. This one." And he handed the Duke 
of Hamilton a photostat of Haushofer's letter of September 


The Duke read it in amazement. This was the first he had 
heard about a letter from Haushofer. He asked how it came 
into the possession of the intelligence officer. The Group Cap- 
tain explained that the censorship authorities had inter- 
cepted it and made that copy for him. 

In fact, the Duke has still never received the original; it 
has disappeared and has never been traced. 

"Well, we're interested in this proposal/' the Group Cap- 
tain went on. "We wondered whether you would go out to 
Lisbon for us and see what it's all about/' 

The Duke of Hamilton did not show much enthusiasm for 
this proposition. It was quite outside his usual Air Force 
duties, which were occupying all his time, and he naturally 
had no wish to go on his own authority, and without the 
fullest briefing. 

However, he agreed to see the director of R.A.F. Intelli- 
gence to discuss the matter, and a meeting was arranged. 
A number of officers concerned with the aspects of intelli- 
gence and security were also present. It was suggested that 
the Duke of Hamilton should write to Albrecht Haushofer 
and explain that he was willing to fly to Lisbon to meet him. 
A date, time and place could then be agreed upon. 

Still Hamilton hesitated. Finally, one of the intelligence 
men asked him bluntly, "Are you prepared to do it?" 

"I will go if I am ordered to go," replied the Duke quietly. 

The others looked at each other uneasily. 

"We don't like to order people to do these sort of jobs/' 
one of them explained, "We like volunteers. Then we can 
brief them. So I'm asking you, will you do it?" 

"If it's an order, I will," replied the Duke. "But I would 
like to make some conditions." He was asked to name them. 
He pointed out that for an assignment of this magnitude 
and responsibility he must be able to have direct access to 
the British Ambassador in Lisbon, and be free to seek his 


advice on any points that might emerge from his meeting 
with Haushof er. 

The intelligence officers promised to consider this. They 
told the Duke that in the meantime he should treat the 
matter as being in abeyance until he heard from them 
further. It would come up before the War Cabinet and then 
they would be in touch with him again. In fact, they never 
were in touch, for within weeks Hess arrived precipitately 
and unexpected under the impression that Haushofer's at- 
tempts to contact the Duke of Hamilton in Lisbon had failed. 
Actually, they had not properly begun. 

Frau Hess believes that a further factor influenced her 
husband and complicated the issue. In the summer of 1939 
an English friend gave Hess a copy of Gen. Sir Ian Hamil- 
ton's book When I Was a Boy; this dealt warmly with the 
General's reminiscences of his youth when he lived in Ger- 
many. It contained a sentence which made a great influence 
on Hess before he made his flight. "In Germany as a young 
man," the General wrote, "I dropped my nationality; as a 
Hamilton I might be taken for a milord perhaps the Duke 
of Hamilton." Karl Haushofer had already suggested that 
either Sir Ian or the Duke of Hamilton should be contacted. 
Frau Hess believes that her husband felt these two men 
might be related for they shared the same name. 

And so Hess reached his decision. As he put it, he grad- 
ually formed the notion of "softening the irreconcilably hos- 
tile attitude of the British by some unusual and dramatic 
act/' In a letter to Albrecht Haushofer, which he left behind 
him, he wrote that in his views there remained only one pos- 
sibility; "To cut the Gordian knot of this unhappy entangle- 

This time, no letters, no agents, no intermediaries would 
be used. As an earnest of Germany's good intentions, he 
would fly to Britain himself, to meet the Duke of Hamilton 
and ask to be taken before the two men he considered most 
important in Britain and the Empire Winston Churchill 
and King George VI. 


The earliest of Hess's efforts to plan his flight went back to 
the previous autumn, when he had first begun to show a 
deep interest in modern German pursuit planes at Tempel- 
hof airdrome in Berlin. 

In his search for knowledge about them and especially 
how to fly them he sought the help of Udet, then the 
Luftwaffe Quartermaster General. But Udet was a cautious., 
prudent man, and unwilling to let Hess fly without Hitler's 
permission in writing. He knew that the Fiihrer had for- 
bidden Nazi leaders to pilot their own planes during the 
war. This was a general order, issued for reasons of safety. 
It caused little hardship because only Hess could pilot a 
plane; Goring, a First War flier with Richthofen's air circus, 
was too fat to climb into the pilot's seat. 

Hess asked specifically that the ban should last only for 
a year, and Hitler immediately agreed to his request. When 
the twelve months were up in September, 1940, Hitler had 
apparently forgotten all about the matter; not so Hess. Be- 
cause nothing was said about renewing this ban, he felt 
himself free to fly again and at once began to make ar- 
rangements to do so. 

Hess was unwilling, though, to approach Hitler for the 
explicit permission Udet required. If he did so, it would 
mean that Hitler would then know officially that he was fly- 
ing again. And in view of what was planned, the Fiihrer 
could not then deny all knowledge of his intentions if his 
mission failed or ran into unexpected difficulties. 

Udet knew nothing of the reasons behind Hess's wish to 
fly, and since Hitler's express permission was unavailable 
he declined to help Hess in the matter. Hess therefore sought 
out Messerschmitt, with whom he had been on friendly 
terms since the First World War, and his technical director, 
Theo Croneiss. 

Recalling this later, Hitler's personal pilot, Lt. Gen. Hans 
Baur, wrote, "Hess went to Messerschmitt, who, of course, 
knew all about the prohibition, and declared that he had a 
special mission about which he was unable to talk. Now, for 


one thing, Hess was Deputy Fiihrer, and for another, he 
might well have a special mission, so Messerschmitt let him 
have his way. . . .* " 

He provided an airplane for Hess to make short flights 
from Augsburg. These he described as "a form of recrea- 
tion." Hess was a good empirical engineer. He had suggested 
improvements to such devices as magnetic mines, largely as 
a result of close observation and common sense. Messer- 
schmitt was thus interested in his comments on the per- 
formance of the ME no, which was still on the secret list. 

This new version of a trusted airplane, which Hess flew 
to Scotland, was intended to carry two men. Hess had it 
modified for his purpose. To Messerschmitt's displeasure he 
criticized its range, and persuaded the engineers at Messer- 
schmitt's factory, which had its own airfield at Augsburg, to 
construct extra fuel tanks of a weight equal to the second 
man who would ordinarily accompany the pilot. 

Messerschmitt fitted two tanks, each of yoo-liters capac- 
ity, into the wings. A radio of unusual sensitivity was also 
installed; Hess explained that he intended to fly on some of 
the shorter bombing routes, and this was necessary so that 
he could pick up the directional signals. 

Herr Mortsiepen, a senior Messerschmitt radio technician, 
reported to the factory's chief test pilot, Flight Captain 
Stohr, that Hess had ordered a special radar set to be fitted 
in the plane, so adapted that he could use it as he flew. Hess 
was also showing "a keen interest" in flying on his instru- 
ments and using radio direction beams. 

This news the test pilot immediately passed on to Hitler's 
personal pilot. Four weeks later, Baur met Hess in Hitler's 
apartments in Berlin. Later, he wrote: 

He came straight up to me and declared bluntly, "Baur, I want 
a map of the forbidden air zones." 

I had such a map for my own use, of course, but I dared not let 
it out of my hands. . . . Moreover, that map was clearly marked 
REICH TOP SECRET, which meant that I was not allowed to let 

* Hans Baur, Hitler's Pilot, Frederick Muller, Ltd., London, 1958. 

anyone know its contents. This secret map showed those zones 
over which even German planes were not allowed to fly, or only 
at certain definite heights; and as the details changed from time 
to time you couldn't learn them off by heart once and for all. You 
had to have up-to-date supplements * 

Baur assured him that an aide would always check the 
map, as a matter of course, before Hess made any flight. "But 
this/' Baur wrote afterwards, "for reasons that were to be- 
come very clear to me later, didn't satisfy Hess; he wanted a 
map of his own." 

Hess told Baur to ask the officer in charge of these secret 
maps to make one available to him. This officer was naturally 
chary of doing this, but after some thought he agreed. 

"With that map, his training on the ME no, and his in- 
dustrious studying of instrument and blind flying," reported 
Baur later, "Hess was in a position to fly out of wartime 
Germany. . . *' 

All together Hess made thirty flights from Augsburg; he 
made no secret of the fact that he was flying again. Most of 
his flights lasted for no more than an hour or two, but on 
one January afternoon shortly after his private conversation 
with Haushofer, he arrived at the airport with a briefcase, 
and announced that he would be away for rather longer. 

With Hess, as was usual on these occasions, were his 
adjutant Capt. Karlheinz Pintsch, his personal detective, and 
his driver. Pintsch, an officer in his late twenties, had seen 
active service in France before his promotion to be adjutant 
to the Deputy Fiihrer. He lived with his wife and two chil- 
dren in the same Munich suburb as the Hess family. 

As his plane was being prepared, Hess handed two sealed 
letters to Pintsch. One was addressed to Hitler personally, 
and the other to Pintsch. 

"Synchronize your watch with mine," he told his adjutant. 
"If I'm not back within four hours, open the letter addressed 
to you. It contains certain instructions. Then take this other 



letter to the Fiihrer in person. He will want to know where 


They saluted each other, and within minutes the airplane 
was a swiftly vanishing speck in the wintry sky. 

Pintsch climbed into the back of Hess's official black 
Mercedes SSK cabriolet to await his master's return. In the 
front seat sat the driver and the detective. They made con- 
versation as the hours crawled by, and afternoon merged 
into evening and grew bitterly cold. Finally, the four hours 
of waiting were up. 

Pintsch added another fifteen minutes for good measure, 
then opened the letter addressed to him. He read the letter 
by a shielded torch because it was against blackout regula- 
tions to switch on the car's interior light. 

"Mein Gott!" He gasped in amazement as he read. 

"What's wrong?" asked the detective, swiveling round in 
his black leather coat. "Why, you're sick, Pintsch," he said. 

Pintsch's mouth was so dry that he could hardly speak. 
He shook his head. "It's this letter," he said at last. "The 
Stellvertreter is flying to England to try and make peace." 

"To make peace?" repeated the detective. "Here, let me 
read it." 

He snatched the letter. The driver turned on the dash 
lights, and both men read the message slowly. When they 
finished, the detective turned to Pintsch again. He was about 
to speak when they heard the faint familiar drone of their 
master's plane. It was coming back. 

Down it came on the darkened runway, taxied to the end, 
turned and came slowly to where the car stood. Hess cut out 
his engines, pulled back the canopy and climbed down wear- 
ily. As he crossed to them on that early January night, he saw 
from their faces that they knew the contents of the letter. 

"Well," he said easily, "as you see, I'm back a little sooner 
than I expected." 

None of the three men in the car said a word. They sat 
watching him suspiciously. The air was heavy with disbelief, 

and, despite the discrepancy between his rank and theirs, 
beginning to crackle with hostility. 

"I would like to explain a few things to you," Hess told 
Pintsch. "Then you can tell the others if you wish/' 

He turned to the chauffeur. "Drive me home. We'll not 
want you again tonight." 

As the car stopped outside his house, Hess motioned 
Pintsch upstairs. They climbed up the polished wooden steps 
to the attic used by Hess's secretary. It was a room under 
the eaves, where they could talk without any danger of be- 
ing disturbed or overheard. 

Pintsch sat down heavily, his legs almost giving way un- 
der him. That his master, the Deputy Fiihrer one of the 
handful of pioneers who had grown up with Hitler, who 
were determined to lift Germany from the ranks of fifth-rate 
powers to become the most feared country in the world 
could be anything less than perfect seemed impossible. That 
he might possibly be a traitor, a go-between, perhaps even 
a spy, was unbelievable. 

Hess realized the confusion in the younger man's mind, 
and poured out a brandy for Pintsch. The adjutant drank it 
down eagerly. "Why were you flying to England without 
telling the Fiihrer?" he asked bluntly. "I know that you left 
without his knowledge otherwise you wouldn't have given 
me this letter to deliver to him personally." 

As he spoke he handed back to Hess the envelope, still 
unopened, addressed to Hitler. Hess took it and put it in his 

"It's true that Hitler does not know IVe made this specific 
attempt tonight, or that it failed," he said. "But it is his most 
urgent and important wish to have the earliest possible peace 
with England. I have discussed the matter with him many 
times. I have also discussed it with Professor Haushofer and 
with Albrecht Haushofer. 

"There have been many attempts to make contact with 
the other side through Lisbon and elsewhere already, but 


they have been unfruitful. What the situation needs is a 
direct approach. Then we can discover how we stand. That 
is what I am determined to do. If my plane hadn't let me 
down Td have been in Britain by now, perhaps even dis- 
cussing the matter with the people I want to see." 

Hess paused for a moment, and Pintsch sat back in his 
chair, relieved and intrigued by what he had just heard. 

"I see/' he said slowly. The two Haushofers were so well 
known and so respected that the revelation that they were 
also concerned reassured Pintsch. He felt rather ashamed of 
his earlier feelings about Hess. 

"But why shouldn't Hitler know you were leaving on this 
mission?" he asked. 

"Ill try to explain/' Hess said. "As you know, I am one of 
the very earliest members of the party. As you also know, 
there's a good deal of my thinking in Mein Kampf. And I'm 
sure you'll agree that I can read the mind of our Fiihrer 
more accurately and positively than anyone else around him. 
This is reasonable, of course, for we have been together for 
twenty years maybe longer. 

"Thus, if anyone should know exactly what Hitler wants, 
I should be that man. Hitler wants a strong England. And 
he wants peace with England. That's why we didn't invade 
Britain after Dunkerque. We could have done so easily 
enough, as you know yourself. That's why we've tried to 
open negotiations since. 

"Our enemy now is not in the West but in the East. That's 
where the danger is. That's where the Fiihrer's thoughts are 

"You mean Russia?" asked Pintsch. 

Hess nodded. "I mean Russia. If we go on fighting Britain 
as we are, I fear that eventually Germany will be fighting 
against the rest of the world on her own. 

"America will become involved. America and Britain to- 
gether may be too strong for us. It's not a question of spirit 
or determination, Pintsch, it's a question of facts and figures. 

Combined, they must be stronger and better-armed than 
we are on our own. This will mean that the new Germany 
the Fiihrer has built up will eventually vanish. We'll have 
fought to a standstill against the people with whom we 
really have most in common. Germany and Britain will both 
be exhausted. 

"Britain will then discover that, so far as she's concerned, 
this is very much a Pyrrhic victory. She will lose her Empire. 
But who will step into the void that will be left in many 
countries? Germany won't be able to, nor will any other 
European country with experience of colonization, so I'll 
tell you who will Russia. 

"Within a decade, Russia will have become the most 
powerful country in the world. Events will be entirely out 
of our control by then, Pintsch, if this happens. Thus it is up 
to us to try to stop this march of events now. I know that 
this is Hitler's wish. It is his dearest dream that this state of 
affairs shall be prevented. But there's not much time left 
to prevent it." 

Hess paused for a moment. 

"But the risk to you," said Pintsch slowly, trying to assess 
it as he spoke. "Isn't that enormous?" 

"First of all, any personal risk I run is nothing compared 
with what I may achieve," Hess replied. "One has to risk 
something to win anything worth while, and the greater the 
prize the greater the risk involved. In this case I agree I 
run several personal risks. I may crash into the sea, or I may 
be shot down. Or I might even be killed when I land. But 
against that, if I am successful, the journey will result in 
saving literally millions of lives and our future." 

The two men sat in silence for a few moments in the 
small upper room with its sloping ceiling. Somewhere in the 
house a radio was playing. The sound of music filtered, 
muted, through the walls. 

At length Pintsch recovered from his initial surprise suf- 
ficiently to ask more detailed questions. Whom did Hess ex- 

pect to see? Was he acquainted with the men he proposed 
to visit so unceremoniously? With each question that Hess 
answered, another at once occurred to Pintsch. 

"Say you do reach England/' he asked, "why should the 
Duke of Hamilton see you again? All this is very new to me, 
but I just can't see it happening as you visualize. First, if 
you fly in uniform, presumably you will be arrested when 
you land if you aren't shot down before you have the 
chance to land. And if you fly in civilian clothes, then you 
could be shot as a spy. Next, how will you ever get to see 
the Duke? You can't very well come down on his doorstep. 
You'll have to land some distance away and then walk. You'll 
be picked up in no time. I'm sorry to say all this, sir, but since 
you have taken me so far into your confidence, I must be 
frank. I just cannot see how you hope to succeed." 

"I'll try to answer your points as you made them," replied 
Hess. "First, I'll fly in uniform for the obvious reason that you 
mention. But in assuming that I won't see the Duke of 
Hamilton, you are being altogether too young and naive. 
You say that I can't very well land right on his doorstep? 
Well, I can, and I will! At his front door!" 

Pintsch looked at Hess, amazed; he was entirely out of 
his depth. Was the Deputy Fiihrer of the Fatherland, the 
second most powerful man in the Reich possibly in the 
world going mad? Something of his bewilderment showed 
in his face. Hess saw his astonishment and was amused by 
it. He stood up. 

"Ah, you think I'm talking in riddles, eh? Hand me down 
those maps from that shelf, Pintsch, and I will show you 
just what I mean. It's all really very straightforward, as you'll 
see for yourself." 

Pintsch took down the first map and unrolled the canvas. 
It was a large-scale map of the north of England and the 
south of Scotland. 

Hess spread out the map on the table and put a book on 
each corner to hold it down. Then he moved an adjustable 
reading lamp over it and switched off the light in the ceiling. 


The map was now brilliantly lit; the rest of the room was 
in darkness. To Pintsch's surprise, he saw that a route was 
already charted across it in blue pencil from Holy Island in 
the east to beyond Glasgow in the west. 

"Now, Pintsch, let's see whether you are wrong and 
whether I am right," said Hess. As he discussed his route 
explaining how he would identify landmarks along the way, 
how he expected to escape pursuit, his expectation later 
proved correct, that reports of an ME so far from Germany 
would be ridiculed in Scotland the whole plan began to 
acquire a new plausibility for Pintsch. 

"Now/' Hess said, turning away from the map, "shall we 
assume I've landed at his front door, as I promised, and that 
it is dark? You agree that this should allow me ten minutes 
before the police or the troops, or whoever sees me come 
down, can come and arrest me?" 

"All right, sir, say ten minutes," said Pintsch. 

"Imagine that I've parachuted down. I'm out of my para- 
chute harness, out of my overalls, and I'm walking up the 
front steps of the Duke's home, Dungavel House. Now what 
do I do next?" 

Pintsch shook his head in bewilderment. "I just don't 
know, sir," he said. "I've no idea. The whole thing sounds so 

"Patience, Pintsch, patience. What do you do when you 
call at a stranger's house? You press the bell. So will I. Soon 
a servant possibly a butler, I should imagine, or some other 
trusted retainer will open the door. Ill tell him that I wish 
to see the Duke of Hamilton. The butler will ask who I am. 
I won't tell him, naturally enough, but I'll hand him a card 
Albrecht Haushofer's card. The butler will take the card to 
his master. When the Duke sees Albrecht's card, he'll natu- 
rally suppose that young Haushofer has somehow come to 
see him, or maybe that he's been shot down. He can think 
what he likes, but I'm sure that at least he'll ask Haushofer 
into his home if only to keep him prisoner while he tele- 
phones the military. 


"Then" declared the Deputy Fiihrer triumphantly, "he'll 
see not Haushofer but Hess! I don't know exactly what will 
happen after that, but at the very worst I should have time 
to explain to him why I'm there, and the object of my jour- 
ney. Fll ask to see a government representative and the King. 
Now does my plan make any more sense to you?" 

Did it or didn't it? 

Pintsch rubbed his eyes, bemused. The plan was auda- 
cious, of course, but then so many of the most successful 
plans of the last few years had seemed impossible, and had 
succeeded. Why, when the Fiihrer had marched on the 
Rhein barely five years earlier in the teeth of the French 
and British armies, who would have given a pfennig for his 
chances of success? But he had succeeded: the gamble had 
proved worth while. 

Hess's proposal sounded equally incredible when told by 
one tired man to another in a tiny room above the linden 
trees, but when translated into action, its success, although 
perhaps still improbable, was by no means impossible. 

Oddly enough, they ignored one enormous flaw in the plan 
that had also not occurred to the Haushofer s: what would 
happen if the Duke of Hamilton was not at home? Hess and 
Haushofer both seemed to realize that the young Duke 
would be serving in the military forces, but they had never- 
theless failed to draw the obvious conclusion that he was 
unlikely to be at Dungavel House. 

Pintsch lit a cigarette, but its taste seemed stale and harsh 
in his mouth, and he stubbed it out again after a few puffs. 

"Well," said Hess gently, "what's worrying you now? Have 
I confused you, or do you still think I'm a traitor?" 

"I never said that, sir," protested Pintsch. 

"I didn't say that you had said it. I said that you thought 

"No one knowing your record, your closeness to the 
Fiihrer, your personal bravery, and even a fraction of what 
you have just told me, could ever call you a traitor," said 
Pintsch. "If you succeeded, you'll be called the savior of 


Europe., maybe even of the world. But I wasn't thinking of 
what will happen if you succeed, sir. I was wondering what 
would happen if you fail." 

"I have also wondered, Pintsch," agreed Hess quietly. 
"But I must not sit about thinking of failure. Germany will 
always have room for initiative, for people willing to take 
risks, even against great odds. As a nation, we recognize 
this. Why, we even have a special decoration for such cases 
if they're successful. Do you know what a man must do 
to be awarded the Austrian Order of Maria Theresa?" 

Pintsch shook his head. "I've no idea/' he said. 

'Well, let me tell you. Oddly enough, my wife asked me 
about this Order for some reason only the other day, and 
I looked up the regulations. As you know, some of our 
decorations are given only for acts of bravery carried out on 
the individual's own personal initiative. In the case of the 
Maria Theresa Order, however, something much rarer is re- 
quired. To be awarded it, a man has to act independently 
on his own responsibility and in a manner directly contrary 
to what has been clearly commanded by his superiors. Then, 
if his action is successful, he gets the Order!" 

"And if he's not successful?" 

"Then, Pintsch, he gets shot. His act is officially disowned. 
I think that this answers your question?" 


Hess made a second attempt to fly to Britain, but bad 
weather forced him back to Augsburg. The first attempt in 
January had failed because a fault developed in one of the 
ailerons, and the aeroplane could not make enough height 
to cross the mountains. 

And then, on the second Saturday in M'ay, Hess discovered 
that the weather forecasts for several days ahead were good. 
It seemed perfect for Ms flight and also he was in Munich and 
so near Augsburg. He felt that he had delayed long enough, 
and if he did not take this opportunity, he might have to 
wait weeks for another. So he decided to make his third 
attempt to reach Britain. 

Hess and his adjutant Pintsch lived in houses about half 
a mile apart on the same side of Harthauser Strasse. 

Early on Saturday, May 10, the telephone rang in Pintsch's 
home. He rubbed the sleep from his eyes, pulled on a woolen 
dressing-gown, and went downstairs to answer it. His young 
son and daughter were already awake; he could hear their 
chatter from the nursery as he passed the door. He picked 

up the telephone, knowing, before he heard the familiar 
voice, who would be calling him and why. 

"Good morning, Pintsch," said Hess. "I'm sure that this 
is the day we've been waiting for. If it keeps like this it 
should be perfect for a long flight. Give me the weather in- 
formation I need as soon as you can, and I'll see you here 
this afternoon, about half past two. I've got Rosenberg coin- 
ing to lunch at twelve, so I won't be free till then. If all goes 
well, I intend to leave about six so that I can reach my des- 
tination before dark," 

"Very good, sir," replied Pintsch, and he replaced the re- 
ceiver. For a moment, until his breath clouded the glass, he 
stood looking out of the window, imprinting on his mind the 
familiar scene of linden trees, a milk cart coming by, the 
horse's head obscuring the blue-and-white nameplate of the 
road. He could not guess that this was the last time he would 
see these unexciting, familiar things for fourteen years, or 
that this was the last telephone call Hess would ever make 
to him. 

Farther up the road, Hess, equally unaware of the future, 
was dressing in his bedroom overlooking the long lawns and 
swimming pool of his home. He put on a light-gray civilian 
suit, for technically he was off duty, and although he regu- 
larly appeared in the Nazi uniform, he preferred casual 
clothes at home. Often on summer days, he wore the Leder- 
hosen, the short leather trousers of the Tyrol and Bavaria. 

Next to his room was a small study with a desk and chair, 
and a large Siemens radio in a black bakeiite case, kept per- 
manently tuned to the Danish radio station of Kalundborg. 
Ostensibly, this station put out ordinary radio programs, 
music, talks, plays, news bulletins; in fact, the hours of dance 
music and Wagner that were played every evening also 
served as a signal to help German bomber pilots plot their 
course for England and then for home again. Early morn- 
ing dance music was now playing, filling the white-walled 
room with its meaningless sentimentality. Downstairs, he 
heard the usual early morning sounds of a household stirring. 


Outside, in the back garden, the security guards in their 
black leather mackintoshes were chatting together. The 
house was separated from the road by a high hedge and 
closely planted trees, so that it was difficult for passers-by 
to see inside. In one corner of the grounds the sunshine was 
glittering on the surface of the swimming pool. 

For a moment Hess stood by the open window, breath- 
ing deeply, and then, on the impulse, he threw himself flat 
on the floor. He lay relaxed for a few moments in his fa- 
miliar Yoga posture, and then stood up, and walked down 
the few steps to his wife's room. 

Use Hess's bedroom opened onto a balcony that ran the 
whole south side of the house, with a magnificent view over 
birch trees, now silver with leaves, and a wooden pergola 
clustered with clematis and roses, to an old stone sundial and 
a shield of trees behind it. The bedroom had a sloping ceil- 
ing which was built high up under a narrow gable faced with 
spruce and pinewood tiles. From the outside, No. 48 looked 
like a house in a Hans Andersen fairy tale. 

Use Hess was in bed on that Saturday morning, reading 
propped up against the pillows, when her husband came into 
her room. She had been unwell for several days, but hoped 
to be allowed up during the weekend. She laid her book 
aside as she saw her husband. 

"What are you reading?" he asked. She handed him the 

He glanced at its spine, and then raised his eyebrows in 
surprise. It was an English edition of The Pilots' Book of 
Everest, describing the first airplane flight over that moun- 
tain eight years earlier in a plane piloted by the Duke of 
Hamilton and Group Capt. D. F. Mclntyre. English friends 
on holiday in the Hindelang Mountains, 100 miles to the 
southwest of Munich where the Hesses had sometimes 
stayed, had given her the book two years before the war. 
Hess reread the inscription inside the front cover: "With all 
good wishes and the hope that out of personal friendships 


a real and lasting understanding may grow between our two 

He handed it back in silence, but open at a photograph 
of the Duke of Hamilton. "He's very good-looking/' he said. 

"I agree," Use replied. "I wonder if he is as charming as 
he is good-looking?" 

"Of course/' said her husband. "He's handsome and he's 
also a very brave man. Remember, he flew over Everest in a 
tiny plane and with no possible hope of rescue if anything 
went wrong." 

"You would have done the same/' said his wife quickly 
and loyally. 

"That's beside the point/' replied Hess tartly. 

Ilse thought he appeared to be unreasonably irritated be- 
cause she seemed to underestimate the importance of the 
Duke of Hamilton. Hess even went on to suggest that had 
there been more men in both countries as upright and 
courageous as the Duke, then Germany and England might 
not be at war. At the time, Ilse thought his vehemence un- 
necessary. Only afterwards did she realize the thought be- 
hind it and the reasons that prompted it. 

Presently, the talk turned to more domestic matters. 
"Rosenberg's coming to lunch/' said Hess. "I've nothing 
much to do before then, and there's no need for you to 
bother to get dressed and come down to lunch with us. I'll 
have it alone with Rosenberg, and then I'll come up and see 
you afterwards." 

That morning, Hess played with his small son, Wolf 
Riidiger, then four years old. His family nickname was Buz. 
Every morning for the previous few weeks father and son 
had gone off solemnly to walk hand in hand along the Isar 
River. Their garden backed onto it with a special gate open- 
ing to a path along the riverbank. They would walk as far 
as the Hellabrunn Zoo, often with their wolfhound, Hasso, 
and his three half-grown puppies, Nurmi, Hedda and Nicki. 

The picture of the Deputy Fiihrer holding the hand of his 


small son was one that did him no harm in the eyes of his 
neighbors. Hess never took a detective with him on these 
walks. Always he and his son walked alone together. Some- 
times passers-by would salute him or bow respectfully. At 
other times he went unrecognized in the weekend crowd 
of strollers. 

Hess came into his wife's bedroom for a second time at 
about eleven o'clock. "Look/' he said. "If you feel well 
enough. Use, please get up and have lunch with us after 

Use was surprised at his change of mind; she was even 
more surprised when, half an hour later, he returned again, 
shaking his head and waving her back to bed. 

"Don't bother getting up," he said. "It's really not neces- 
sary, for you probably still don't feel very well. Ill lunch 
alone with Rosenberg after all. We've much to discuss and 
time is short." 

"But he's not due until twelve o'clock," protested Use, 
opening the cupboard for a dress. "I've got almost an hour." 

"You don't understand," replied Hess. "I was referring 
to something else." 

So Use returned thankfully to bed and her book. 

Hess went down into the dining room that looked out 
across the lawn, through the French doors with white shut- 
ters that opened onto a stone terrace. It was a relatively 
small room, about eighteen feet square, with a round table 
large enough to seat four people comfortably, and twice that 
number when an extra leaf was fitted. 

At twelve o'clock the guards opened the iron gates at the 
end of the drive, and in drove Alfred Rosenberg. He was 
Hitler's chief adviser on all matters concerned with the 
ideology of national socialism, a clean-shaven, powerfully 
built man with a quiet, deliberate manner of speaking that 
echoed the self-confidence which was the dominating trait 
in his personality. 

He had been born of German parents in Reval in Russia 
on the Baltic, studied as an architect in Moscow, and moved 


to Germany to escape the 1917 Revolution. With Hess, 
Goring, Rohm and Eckart, Rosenberg had been one of the 
early stalwarts of the Nazi party. He succeeded Eckart in 
1923 as editor of the Volkischer Beobachter, "the people's 

Hitler also found him useful because of his contact with 
other refugees from Russia who shared his anti-Communist 
and anti- Jewish outlook. Rosenberg impressed Hitler on a 
personal level because of his architectural training, brief 
though this had been. Hitler liked to consider himself as a 
potential artist or an architect whose career had been cut 
short by his need to engage in politics. 

As Rosenberg arrived, Hess's butler, George Ferdinand 
Myer,* opened the heavy front door and bowed to him. 
Myer was used to these private lunches and had laid out a 
salad, with slices of cold meat and German sausage on the 
sideboard. Guest and host could serve themselves. He an- 
nounced Herr Alfred Rosenberg to Hess, and then with- 
drew, leaving the two men together. 

At about two o'clock Use Hess heard their voices filtering 
up the staircase to her bedroom; doors opened and closed, 
the tires of Rosenberg's official car crunched on the gravel 
chips outside, and the metal garden gates shut behind him 
with a clang. Apart from the servants, she and her husband 
were alone in the house. She dozed a little and awoke to 
see Hess standing by her bedside, looking down at her as 
she slept 

"Why, you've changed your clothes," she said with sur- 
prise, struggling into wakefulness. Instead of his comfortable 
gray suit, her husband now wore a light blue Air Force 
shirt with a dark blue tie, and bluish-gray breeches. 

"Yes, I thought I'd give you a surprise," he explained with 
a smile. 

* In 1945, tlie British arrested Myer. Drawing himself up to his full 5 
feet 6 inches, he addressed the senior officer in English. "Sir," he said coldly, 
*Tm surprised to he troubled by you gentlemen. After all, I have been a 
butler in a house where the Prince of Wales was a guest." He was set free. 


"But why the blue shirt?" she persisted. Hess preferred to 
wear a white shirt with his uniform, although his wife con- 
sidered he looked best in blue; the color suited his eyes. 
Every Christmas she would buy him a new blue shirt with 
a dark blue tie to match it, in the hope of converting him. 
But the day after, he would put away these presents in his 
cupboard and never wear them. 

"I'm wearing it to please you," he told her. She smiled and 
then saw with more surprise that her husband was wearing 
flying boots. 

She sat up in bed and pointed towards them. "But why 
the boots? Is there anything wrong?" 

He shook his head and, reaching out for her hands, held 
them in his. "Nothing at all," he said. "I've just had a call 
from Berlin, and IVe got to go there. As I'm driving, I 
thought Td call in at Augsburg on the way. I can put in an 
hour or two flying while the weather is good." 

The explanation mollified his wife to some extent. But 
Saturday afternoon was an odd day for such excursions. 
Also, the works at Augsburg would be closed. At that mo- 
ment the butler knocked on the door, and entered with a 
tray of cups and saucers. They usually took tea together 
when Hess was home. 

They drank in silence, and then Use asked, "When do 
you think you'll be back?" 

He looked away for a moment, and gave a shrug of his 
shoulders. "I'm not quite certain. Perhaps tomorrow, per- 
haps not. But anyway I'll certainly be back by Monday 

"I don't believe you," said Use firmly. "You will be away 
much longer." 

Afterwards, Hess admitted to her that he went "hot and 
cold by turns" when she expressed this disbelief in his early 

Fran Hess had her own ideas as to her husband's desti- 

After France had capitulated in the previous June, Hess 

had on several occasions prepared for journeys that had not 
materialized. He explained his actions thus: "I may have to 
make a long journey someday, Use, without any warning." 

Hess had accompanied Hitler to Compiegne, where the 
French Armistice was signed in 1940, and, partly because 
of this and partly because he spoke French well and retained 
a respect for old Marshal Petain, against whom he had fought 
at Verdun, Use thought that he might be referring to some 
special mission to Petain.* 

Once, Frau Hess answered the telephone in the study 
when her husband was not at home, and a man she had 
never heard before, under the impression that he was ad- 
dressing Hess's secretary, dictated a weather report to her, 
for two unknown places which he referred to as X and Y. 
Later she wrote: 

Rather astonished, I got down this, to me, quite incomprehensi- 
ble message, but I noticed from the confused manner of the 
secretary, who had just come in, that this was something I was 
not supposed to know anything about! However, she must have 
told my husband; for, from that day onwards, I frequently took 
down such reports sometimes by actual request. It was now 
presumed, so I thought, that they had acquired an innocent ap- 
pearance in my mind.f 

Ilse had still other reasons for believing that her husband 
planned a long absence. Looking back later, she wrote: 

What caused me more surprise than almost anything else dur- 
ing those last weeks was the astonishing amount of time and 
that in the middle of the war that my husband spent with our 
son. This seemed to me inexplicable. How different it was to look 

* "It is not generally known that it was my husband who, before the 
signing of the armistice terms in the historic railway coach at Compiegne, 
urged upon Hitler in a long and earnest discussion the unwisdom of forcing 
any terms that might offend the honour of a defeated enemy and thus tend 
to bar the way to a lasting understanding between the two nations. It was 
only after assurance on this that he withdrew his original refusal to be 
present at Compiegne." Ilse Hess, Prisoner of Peace, Britons Publishing 
Co., London, 1954. 



back on, knowing the circumstances, and seeing how everything 
fell into place! * 

"Anyhow, come back as soon as you can," Use said. "Buz 
will miss you/' 

"111 miss him, too," agreed Hess, almost speaking to him- 
self. Finally he stood up. It was time to leave. 

"Well, I must be off," he said. "Goodbye." 

He bent and kissed his wife and walked to the door. As 
he opened it, he turned and looked back at her as though 
on the point of saying something more. Then he thought 
better of it and was gone. Afterwards, he admitted that he 
had been frightened to stay a moment longer in case she said 
something that showed she knew more about his plans than 
she had admitted. 

He went down the stairs, took his trench coat from the 
peg in the ground-floor cloakroom, and shut the house door 
behind him for the last time. 

A small suitcase had already been placed in the luggage 
compartment of the SSK Mercedes that waited outside the 
house. Pintsch, as well as Hess's personal private detective 
and his chauffeur, stood beside the car. 

"Are we all ready?" asked Hess, looking from one to the 

Pintsch nodded. "Whenever you are, sir," he replied. 

"You have the report I asked for?" continued Hess. 

"In my case here, sir." Pintsch patted the side of his brown 
leather briefcase. 

"Then we'll go," said Hess. He took one last look at his 
house. Long, low, white-walled, with white shutters, it was 
the sort of place he had often dreamed of owning when he 
was out of work, after the First World War. 

He climbed inside the car and sank back on the black 
quilted leather beside the driver; he never rode in the back 
seat unless traveling with the Fiihrer on some state occasion. 
The door clicked behind him. Pintsch and the detective 


climbed into the rear of the car. One of the house guards 
opened the big iron gates and saluted as the car drove 

They turned left, past the Hellabmnn Zoo with its green 
and silver rooftops. Children were at the turnstiles with their 
parents for their Saturday afternoon treat to see the giraffes 
and elephants and lions. 

They drove on through Munich, round the squares where 
the stone statues spouted water, through the streets almost 
empty of traffic but thick with shoppers. Soon they were out 
on the deserted autobahn that lay like a wide white ribbon 
across the red earth of the Fatherland. Hess knew every 
meter of the way to Augsburg as well as he knew his own 
back garden. 

The driver cut in the supercharger, and with a soft hiss 
the huge car seemed to take flight. Hess settled down more 
comfortably in his coat, looking through the narrow wind- 
shield at the three-pointed star on the radiator. About fifteen 
kilometers out of Munich, by one of the yellow-and-black 
signposts, they entered a strip of woodland with crocuses 
growing at the roadside. Hess turned and touched the driver 
on the elbow. "Pull in here for a moment, please," he ordered. 

The big wheels bumped over the grass, off the road. After 
the hum of the engine and tires, the unexpected silence sang 
in their ears. Hess opened the door; Pintsch slid out and 
stood beside him. Hess looked at his watch. "We're a bit 
early yet, according to my timing," he said. "Let's take a walk 
and get some fresh air/' 

The two men strolled off under the trees. The wood seemed 
strangely silent. There were no birds. Now and then, as the 
wind changed, they heard the familiar soothing tinkle of 
cowbells from herds grazing on the lower foothills beyond 
the trees. The two men walked without speaking for a mo- 
ment, busy with their thoughts, and then Hess turned to his 

"Let me see the weather report, please/' he said. 

Pintsch handed over a twice-folded sheet of thin paper on 


which he had typed the latest available news on the weather. 
Hess walked on, reading it, trying to memorize its contents, 
and then handed the sheet back without a word. Both knew 
what lay ahead; so did the two men who sat in the car. 
Scotland seemed an infinity away. 

"You certainly have a good day for the flight," said Pintsch 
with what confidence he could find. "That's one thing." 

In the deep lonely silence of the woods the cliche sounded 
banal Hess nodded. He did not reply. They walked on for 
half a mile or so, and then Hess looked again at his gold 

"It's time we were getting back," he said, but still he 
seemed reluctant to leave the peace of the forest. He post- 
poned the moment of departure, walking on alone, hands 
behind his back, savoring for a last time the sunlight and 
the trees, the sounds and scenes of Bavaria. Finally, he 
returned to the car. Pintsch held open the door. Hess entered 
without a word. 

The driver pressed the starter button and the Mercedes 
turned out onto the autobahn. In a few more kilometers they 
branched off along another road to the private airfield ad- 
joining the Messerschmitt factory. They slowed down as they 
passed the works, and stopped at the airfield entrance. Two 
sentries were on guard, rifles slung over their shoulders. 
They recognized the car, for Hess was a regular visitor to 
the Messerschmitt concern. 

One of them raised the black horizontal boom from the 
gateway to let them drive through. The road stretched off 
emptily in the distance behind them; it led to Lager Lech- 
feld, where Hess had landed in his fighter plane after his 
final flight in the First World War, twenty-three years ago. 
It seemed somehow symbolic to Pintsch that now he was 
taking off from a point so near on a flight of incomparably 
greater importance. 

The driver stopped the Mercedes on the concrete runway 
near the main hangars. The airfield research manager, Herr 
Kel, came forward, clicking his heels and bowing. Because 


it was Saturday, the airfield deserted and the factory closed, 
Piel and the sentries had opened the hangar doors themselves 
and manhandled out the silver-gray Messerschmitt. Now it 
stood, wooden chocks before the wheels, pointing down the 
runway into the wind. The tips of its wings trembled slightly 
in the mild afternoon breeze. It seemed very small and 
fragile for such a long journey. 

Hess chatted briefly with Piel and then went round to the 
rear of the car and opened the luggage compartment. Pintsch 
removed his suitcase for him and carried it into the two- 
story administrative building near the hangar. The driver 
and the detective followed, Piel waited outside. 

In silence, the four men climbed the concrete stairs with 
cream-painted walls on either side, past the notices about 
fire hydrants and air-raid shelters, until they reached a land- 
ing and a small room overlooking the airfield. From this 
height the plane looked smaller than ever. 

Hess took the suitcase from Pintsch and went into an ante- 
room. The other three men stood about making small talk 
until he returned, wearing a jacket that matched his blue 
Luftwaffe trousers. Over this he wore an unfamiliar set of 
fur-lined flying overalls. Pintsch asked him what had hap- 
pened to his own. Hess shrugged. 

"Someone seems to have taken them instead of his own," 
he explained with a grin, "so I've taken someone else's! IVe 
left a note for the owner telling him IVe only borrowed 
them though I don't know when I'll be able to let him have 
them back!" 

Pintsch took the suitcase that now contained Hess's rain- 
coat, and they went downstairs again and out into the early 
evening. It was just before six o'clock. 

Hess shook hands with them all, as was his habit before 
he left on any flight. A bulky figure in his borrowed overalls, 
he lumbered up into the plane, 

Piel stood and watched for his thumbs-up sign as Hess 
went through the preparations for flight. The right hand to 
turn on the petrol, the left for the stick, the right for the 


starter of each engine. Slowly, the black-tipped propellers 
began to turn, sluggishly, one after the other. The exhausts 
spluttered and then roared, coughing gouts of pale blue 
smoke. As Hess warmed up each engine, the plane trembled 
against the chocks. 

At last he nodded to Piel and gave him the thumbs-up 
sign with both hands for both engines. Piel's homely Ba- 
varian face was creased against the wind from the propellers, 
one hand turned up to protect his eyes from the blast. He 
bent down and pulled the rope connected to the chocks. 
Slowly the little airplane moved forward into the wind, its 
tail bumping on the oil-stained concrete. Hess opened both 
throttles, and the tail went up. Within seconds he was air- 

He flew to the end of the runway and then turned in a 
wide left-hand sweep, dipping low over the little group who 
stood and waved goodbye to him. Then he was gone, over 
the tops of the fir trees, over the fields and the hills to the 

"Well," said Pintsch as brightly as he could. "That's that. 
A nice takeoff. We've got a long wait on our hands now." 

He looked at his watch; the hands showed ten minutes 
past six. Hess had left on schedule. 

"I suppose you're right," agreed Piel. "I must say I can 
think of better things to do on a Saturday night than hang 
around this place. I see it seven days a week as it is. How 
long do you think he'll be?" 

"I don't know," said Pintsch, "I've no idea at all." 

As he spoke, he put his hand into his inner jacket pocket 
and felt the sharp corner of the letter Hess had given him 
to take to Hitler if he did not return. He was to wait for 
four hours before he delivered it, 

Pintsch did a quick mental calculation. Assuming that 
Hess did not return within this time, he could reckon on 
leaving the airfield by half past ten. Allowing an hour to 
reach Munich station, he could catch the night train and be 
in Berchtesgaden early on Sunday morning. By then Hess 


should have made contact with someone on the British side. 
By that same time on Sunday night the war might be over. 

The minutes and then the hours ticked by slowly. At first 
Pintsch talked with the detective and the driver, but soon 
the secret they all shared dredged their tongues of words. 
They walked up and down the edge of the airfield, conceal- 
ing their anxiety from Piel as best they could, listening for 
the distant beat of a returning airplane. 

After three hours, Piel, knowing nothing of the plan be- 
hind Hess's flight, began to worry because he had not re- 
turned. He feared trouble and reprimands and explanations 
and reports. If Hess did not return very shortly, he would 
find it difficult to bring down the plane safely, for an early 
evening mist was beginning to cover the ground and was al- 
ready thick enough to make height difficult to judge. What 
would be said to him worse, what would happen to him 
should Hess crash? If Hess should be injured or the thought 
seemed too terrible to consider if he were killed? 

"Herr Pintsch," he said at last, unable to contain his worries 
alone any longer, "as you can see, it is growing very misty 
here. I think I should telephone Professor Messerschmitt and 
explain that Herr Hess has still not returned. And if he comes 
back now I think he will have difficulty in landing. Perhaps 
the Professor can suggest something. I must say I'm very 
anxious. Not only is Herr Hess the Deputy Fiihrer, but his 
plane is still on the secret list, and anything could have 
happened. If we could get another plane up in the air now, 
or at the latest within an hour, before the light fails, perhaps 
they might see if he's come down. But if we wait much 
longer the mist will be too thick here to see anything. Herr 
Hess won't be able to see his own way back! I can't delay 
any longer, for this place can be bad enough to find in the 
day sometimes. At night, without any lights and in a mist, 
hell never get down again safely! Don't you see that?" 

"I see it quite well," Pintsch said, "but I'm positive there's 
no need to worry. Of course it's possible that Herr Hess will 
come down at another airfield, if he can't get back here, or 


if he's in any difficulties. Anyway, I'm sure he's all right. He's 
a good flier, you know. Or perhaps you don't think he is?" 

Piel shook his head vehemently. "Oh no, it's not that at 
all/' he said. "I agree, he's an excellent pilot. But, even to 
the most expert pilot, things can go wrong things that have 
nothing to do with flying. A broken wire, maybe, water in 
the petrol, a bird flying into a propeller. I tell you, Pintsch, I 
don't like it." 

"Neither do I," agreed Pintsch, "but there's nothing you 
or I or anybody else can do about it now. So don't worry 
yourself about this. 111 take full responsibility." 

With this, the unhappy manager had to be content. 

Shortly after nine o'clock, Pintsch went into an empty 
office in the administration building, locked the door behind 
him, carefully fixed the blackout curtain onto the window, 
sat down at the desk and picked up the telephone. He asked 
the operator for an official unlisted number in Berlin, the 
telephone number of a branch of the Air Ministry where 
commanders of bomber stations all round Germany could 
call to be given radio direction signals on which to fly. 

"Pintsch speaking, adjutant to the Stellvertreter, Hen- 
Rudolf Hess," he said, cupping his hand around the mouth- 
piece in case anyone else should hear him, although the 
building seemed deserted. 

"Over to you." There was a click as he and the offices in 
Berlin both pressed the switches to "scramble" the line and 
make it impossible for anyone to tap the wire and overhear 
their conversation. 

"I'm speaking on behalf of the Deputy Fiihrer," he went 
on. "He has asked me to repeat my request for a radio beam 
from Augsburg to a point about fifteen kilometers west of 
Glasgow, in Scotland, on Dungavel Hill. Can you give him a 

"It's very difficult," came the metallic unknown voice over 
the miles of wire, over the pine forests, above the mountains. 
"In fact, Heir Adjutant, I think it's impossible. We've got 
a hell of a big raid going out tonight on Britain. It's our 


biggest so far around five hundred planes. They're using 
all the beams we have." 

"I didn't know that," said Pintsch, wondering how this 
would affect Hess's plans, for he had not known it either. 
"It's awkward for me, too, for I've promised Herr Hess a 
beam, and he's already in the air. I'm at Augsburg the 
Messerschmitt works and IVe no means of contacting him. 
It looks like trouble all round/' 

"I'll do what I can, I promise you," said the man in the 
Air Ministry. "I tell you what, we can give him a beam for 
one hour until 2200 hours, if that's any use. After that, it's 
more than I can do. IVe got my orders. You'll have to go 
above me for permission. Sorry/' 

"Right. Thanks for that, anyway. Goodbye." 

The line went dead. Pintsch replaced the receiver and sat 
thinking, head in his hands, wondering where Hess was now, 
what his thoughts would be in his small cold cockpit far 
above the fluffy dark clouds. Would he think that Pintsch 
had let him down? Pintsch imagined him tuning the radio 
round the dial for the signals that never came, wondering 
whether the set was faulty, peering down at his compasses 
to check his bearings. 

A knocking on the door disturbed his thoughts. He opened 
it; Piel was outside, even more agitated. 

"I thought I heard the phone," he said nervously. 

"You did," replied Pintsch. "I was speaking on it myself. 
An official call. Look, I don't think there's any use either of 
us hanging around here any longer. I think I know Herr 
Hess better than you, and I expect he has come down some- 
where. Maybe he's had engine trouble or something. If so, 
hell have it put right and he'll be back here in the morning. 
The best thing I can do is to run you back home IVe still 
got his car here and if you don't hear either from him or 
from me by the early morning, then I suggest you ring your 
chief. But don't lose any sleep on it. You've only had this for 
one night. I get it all the time!" 

Piel appeared considerably cheered by this reasoning. He 


locked up his office and followed Pintsch to the car. Behind 
them, the runway stretched away, seemingly without end, 
running from dusk into darkness like a vast wide road lead- 
ing nowhere, 

The guards lifted up the boom to let the car go through. 
Pintsch acknowledged their salute as the car turned back 
onto the autobahn, its masked headlights throwing forward 
a small silvery pool of light in which midges and night moths 
danced briefly and were gone. 

They all sat in silence until Piel had been dropped at his 
home, and then Pintsch ordered the driver to pull off the 
road and put out their lights. 

"There may be trouble about what the Stellvertreter's 
doing," he explained. "I just don't know yet, It depends 
whether he's successful or not. I've got a letter from him 
to take to the Fuhrer. Now for your plans. This big car is 
far too conspicuous to use, and also, everyone knows whose 
it is. You two get some supper and then put this car into the 
garage. Pack your kit and take the small DKW out of Munich 
to Gallspach. We have a friend there. Wait there with him 
if you can, or at least in the village, if you can't until you 
hear how the flight has gone, whether it's been successful or 
not. I'll do my best to get a message to you as soon as I have 
some news." 

Without mentioning the man's name, Pintsch was referring 
to a homeopath whom Hess had frequently consulted in the 
small Austrian village of Gallspach. The driver and the de- 
tective could change into civilian clothes in Gallspach, and 
no one need suspect that they were anything else but two 
soldiers on a brief leave. 

"In the meantime, take me to Munich station, I'll catch 
the train to Berchtesgaden and well say goodbye," he said. 
"Heil, Hitler!" 

The driver restarted the big car and drove along the de- 
serted roads towards Munich. None of the men spoke. Each 
was busy with his own thoughts. 


They reached the station, and the driver stopped. He and 
the detective shook hands with the adjutant. 

"Well, good luck/' said Pintsch, his throat a little tight. 

"Good luck, sir," chorused the others. 

Well need it, thought Pintsch. 

He shut the door and stood for a moment among the few 
taxis parked in the forecourt. Then smartly, briskly, as the 
adjutant of the Reich's Deputy Fuhrer should appear, he 
marched up the steps and into the stationmaster's office. He 
explained to a duty clerk that Herr Hess wanted his private 
railroad car to be attached to the next train to Berchtesgaden. 

"There's no direct train tonight, Herr Adjutant," replied 
the clerk. "We'll have to unhitch Herr Hess's car at Freilas- 

Pintsch shrugged irritably. He did not want to be bothered 
by such administrative details. 

"What time will we reach Berchtesgaden in that case?" he 

The man consulted a timetable, his thick fingers with their 
bitten nails fumbling on the edges of the small pages, his 
eyes poring over the small print. 

"You should be there by seven o'clock tomorrow morning, 
Herr Adjutant," he said. 

"When is the next train out?" 

"At 2400 hours," replied the clerk. "Where can we reach 
you when the car is ready? Perhaps you may care to wait 
in it until the train goes?" 

"No, thank you. Ill join the train just before it's due to 

The man clicked his heels, gave the Heil Hitler salute, 

which Pintsch returned, and went back to his place behind 
the table. 

Pintsch came out of the office and looked at his wrist- 
watch: it was nearly twenty minutes to twelve. There was 
no real need for him to travel in the Deputy Fiihrer's car- 
riage; he could have made the journey just as quickly in an 


ordinary compartment, but for some reason which he still 
cannot fully understand, it seemed important to use this car 
at the time. Perhaps it was because it represented authority 
and stability, and on that Saturday he needed both. 

He walked slowly among the crowds who still thronged 
the platforms waiting for trains: soldiers, sailors, airmen, 
girl friends; civil and military policemen; old women in their 
black clothes and stockings and rubber-soled canvas shoes. 

There was very little light in the gloomy cavern of the 
station under its domed glass roof, apart from shaded blue 
bulbs at the platform entrances and some illumination from 
the refreshment carts and bookstalls. He had a peculiar sen- 
sation of walking in a strange twilight world divorced from 
reality. About an hour earlier, Hess had experienced the same 
dreamlike unreality of the view above the west coast of Scot- 

The minutes crept by. At five to twelve by the station 
clock, Pintsch began to look out for the dark green car in 
which he had so often traveled with Hess. Some railway 
official recognized him, saluted and led him to it. 

"Will Herr Hess be traveling tonight?" he asked. 

"Not tonight," said Pintsch. 

"Is he away from home?" continued the official, anxious 
to make conversation with someone so close to high author- 


"Yes," agreed Pintsch shortly. "He is away from home." 

He had not admitted this earlier in the stationmaster's 
office for fear someone who outranked him might refuse to 
hook the coach onto the train. 

He took his seat in the blacked-out compartment, a little 
fusty with the steam heat. The car had not been used for 
weeks to his knowledge, and had probably grown damp in 
some neglected siding. Whistles blew, doors banged shut, 
there was some last-minute shouting from a crowd of soldiers 
with kit bags trying to catch the train, and then they began 
to move. It was exactly midnight. 

Pintsch switched off the shaded reading lamp at his head, 

rolled up the blackout blind from the door, and opened the 
window. The cool fresh night air blew in. His forehead felt 
clammy and damp with reaction. Only then did he realize 
how tense he had been, and how tired he was. He put up 
his feet on the opposite seat and lay back, eyes shut. Within 
minutes he was asleep. 

At some early hour on the following morning he heard 
shouting and the clanging of levers dimly in his sleep. 
Through the open window, as he stirred into wakefulness, 
Pintsch saw railwaymen with shaded oil lamps working to 
unhitch his car and hook it up behind another train. Then 
he slept again and did not wake until nearly seven, when 
they were approaching Berchtesgaden. 

Precisely at seven o'clock the train pulled into the small 
station at Berchtesgaden. Pintsch climbed out. What hap- 
pened to the car now was of no importance to him; all that 
mattered was how he was received, and how Hitler would 
regard the letter he carried with him. 

He went into the stationmaster's office and telephoned to 
Hitler's adjutant, Albert Bormann, whom he knew well. He 
was the brother of Martin Bormann, Hess's assistant. Al- 
bert Bormann, who had his quarters next to the Fiihrer's 
house, was surprised that Pintsch had arrived so unexpect- 

"What are you doing here?" he asked curiously. 

"I've a letter from Herr Hess for the Fiihrer, which I must 
deliver personally," Pintsch explained. "I want to see the 
Fiihrer as soon as I can." 

"You'll have a job," said Bormann. "He's got a full day 
ahead of him. First, there's Todt seeing him today, and then 
we've got a reception in the afternoon for Admiral Darlan. 
But I'll do what I can. In the meantime, I'll send a car for 

Presently, the little gray car arrived. Pintsch climbed in 
beside the driver and was soon racing up the deserted moun- 
tain road with its magnificent view of the Alps, past preci- 
pices, over bridges, towards Hitler's house. 

This house stood at the heart of a huge artificial park built 
in the mountains a hundred miles from Munich. It was 
guarded constantly, and surrounded by several cordons of 
barbed wire, with electric alarms. It was the home with 
which Hitler had the warmest and the closest associations. 

In his early days as a politician, Hitler would frequently 
visit the Bechstein family the piano manufacturers at 
their villa on the mountain of Obersalzberg, near Berchtes- 
gaden. Three hundred feet above their house stood a small 
wooden chalet, the Haus Wachenfeld, built before the First 
War by a Hamburg merchant. Hitler liked this so much that 
he rented it, and then when royalties from Mein Kampf began 
to multiply, he bought it outright. In those early days, when 
his income derived mainly from newspaper articles, he would 
frequently retire here and write or dictate them to Hess, or 
to his niece Geli, a girl of seventeen. Her mother, his wid- 
owed half-sister, acted as his housekeeper. 

As Hitler's power grew after 1933 he enlarged the house 
and made various improvements, and changed its name to 
Berghof literally, mountain court. As the years passed, 
what had been a delightful and unspoiled part of Germany 
became riddled with concrete roads leading to barracks for 
guards, to underground air-raid shelters, to garages and guest 
houses for distinguished visitors. 

Here Hitler received Neville Chamberlain, the British 
Prime Minister, when he flew out in 1938 to avert a war over 
Czechoslovakia. Berchtesgaden was so remote from England 
then that the flight took seven hours. Later this was reduced, 
but one of the attractions of the place for Hitler was its 
comparative inaccessibility. Here he would retire for short 
periods during the war, keeping in touch with his com- 
manders in the field by direct lines running through his pri- 
vate exchange. This was fitted with an ingenious device to 
prevent any operator from overhearing any call, even though 
the call might not be "scrambled." 

Here, too, Hitler maintained his own strange and private 
court, with its peculiar Wagnerian protocol, throughout the 

war years. Each day had its own ritual, beginning late and 
ending with the dawn, for Hitler was a poor sleeper and 
hated to be alone. After dinner at night he would sit with 
whatever guests or secretaries were with him at the open 
fireplace in the great hall. He would talk and they would 
listen. For hour after hour his voice droned on, as his captive 
audience concealed their weariness as best they could. Only 
at two or three on the following morning would he leave, 
and they could then creep away, cold and cramped and 
exhausted, to their own bedrooms. 

When Pintsch arrived at the house, it was still early morn- 

"What makes you so anxious to see the Fiihrer this morn- 
ing?" asked Albert Bormann, who stood waiting for him in 
the marble-floored entrance hall. 

"I'm sorry, but I just can't tell you," replied Pintsch. "As 
I explained, I've a sealed letter from my chief for him." 

"How is he these days?" asked Bonnann chattily. "Still 
keeping up his flying, eh?" 

"Yes," agreed Pintsch noncommittally. "He's still flying." 

"Well, I'll see what I can do," said Bormann, and he dis- 
appeared into his own office. In fact, he did nothing at all. 
Pintsch was kept waiting for several hours. 

At about half past eleven on that Sunday morning, while 
Pintsch, at Berchtesgaden, awaited the Fiihrer, Eric Scho- 
field, the general manager of the Glasgow Daily Record, was 
taking a walk through Eaglesham with his dog. This was his 
custom on most fine Sunday mornings. He lived at Newton 
Mearns, only a short distance away. Usually, Schofield found 
Eaglesham virtually deserted apart from families walking 
home from church, or farm and munition workers and 
servicemen on leave waiting for the Eglinton Arms to open. 

On this particular Sunday, however, Schofield noticed that 
small groups of people stood talking together on the corners 
of the streets and outside cottage doors. As they talked, some 
of them pointed towards Floors Farm. When Schofield 


reached the smithy in Waterfoot, past Floors Road, curiosity 
overcame him. 

"What's everyone talking about?" he asked a man in a 
raincoat, one of a small group in front of the smithy's closed 
and padlocked doors. 

"It's the plane that crashed last night/' the man replied. 
"You've heard about it, surely?" 

"Not a thing/' said Schofield. "What about it?" 

"It came down there just before eleven o'clock last night/' 
he said. CC A German fighter. The pilot baled out and was 
taken to Davie McLean's place. Then the Home Guard took 
him to their hut. Now I believe he's in Glasgow." 

"Well, what's so strange about a Jerry pilot crashing?" 

"Ah, I'm coming to that. This fellow flies here all the way 
across Scotland in some new type of Messerschmitt plane 
no one has seen before. A plane that's got no ammunition 
for its guns! That's the first thing. Next, he couldn't hope to 
get away again because the boys up at the R.A.F. camp say 
a plane of this sort can't carry enough juice to take it back 
to Germany. And the pilot's not the usual sort of Jerry air- 
man, either. He's old, nearly fifty. And then he's not wearing 
the usual sort of uniform. It's made of special cloth. Mc- 
Lean was telling us that he'd never seen the like of it. Also, 
he's got a gold watch, and a gold bracelet, and boots that 
McLean says are as soft as a leather glove. He's a pot all 
right, a proper pot." 

The man paused, then added, "And another thing. He was 
asking for the Duke of Hamilton." 

"Was he, now? And what did he want him for?" 

The man shrugged. "I don t know/' he said. "But that's 
who he wanted. Said he had to see him urgently. He seemed 
proper put out when they told him the Duke wasn't at 
Dungavel any more. Said he'd come specially from Munich 
to see him/' 

"I wonder who he was/' said Schofield. 

"Ah, that's what we all want to know. Who was he? He 


could speak English, too, and he knew exactly the man 
he wanted to see. Makes you think, doesn't it?" 

"It does indeed/' agreed Schofield, and whistled for his 

As he walked home through the empty lanes he pondered 
on what the man had told him. It was certainly not uncom- 
mon for a German plane to be shot down during that sum- 
mer, and although such unfortunate pilots occasionally 
provoked hostility and were met with pitchforks, they were 
just as likely to be met with cups of tea until the police or 
troops arrived. 

But none of them had aroused much local interest cer- 
tainly nothing like this. Schofield decided to telephone his 
office and suggest that they follow up the story and find out 
who this strange airman could be. 

Sunday morning in a newspaper office is a bleak time, the 
aftermath of Saturday night. Bored reporters light cigarettes 
they do not want, and envy friends and neighbors who have 
their Sundays free. 

On this particular Sunday morning, the Daily Record 
office was deserted except for one or two messenger boys 
trying their skill on reporters' typewriters, and the duty 
reporter Max McAuslane, a young man awaiting his call-up 
into the R.A.F. He was deputizing for the news editor, who 
was on holiday. 

McAuslane had just read without much enthusiasm a note 
left by the news editor of the Sunday Mail, their companion 
Sunday paper, concerning a German plane that had crashed 
at Eaglesham on Saturday too late for their edition to print 
the news. 

McAuslane screwed up the note into a ball and threw it 
on the floor. Such events were commonplace, He began to 
read the Sunday newspapers, marking with a pencil any item 
his staff could follow up, when his telephone rang. He picked 
it up. 

"News desk," he said crisply. 


"Schofield here. I've just been for a walk through Eagle- 
sham. A Nazi plane came down there last night. Everyone's 
talking about it." 

"Yes, I know, sir. IVe got a note here about it." 

"Apparently, it's a Messerschmitt fighter, and an awful 
long way from home. I'm told a Messerschmitt can't carry 
enough petrol to reach here from Munich where the pilot 
says he came from and get back Also, he was wearing some 
kind of fancy uniform. And he says he wanted to see the 
Duke of Hamilton! There's something odd here, McAuslane. 
Get a man out to interview everybody he can, and take 
some pictures of the plane, too. They may be useful." 

As McAuslane replaced the telephone, John Simpson, the 
chief reporter on the Record, came into the office, hung up 
his raincoat and crossed the big room towards him. 

"Anything doing?" he asked. 

"No, nothing at all, except that a German plane's come 
down at Eaglesham. Mr. Schofield has just been on to say 
the locals think there's something fishy in it." He repeated 
Schofield's message. "You'd better get out there, John," Mc- 
Auslane said. "There should be no difficulty about finding 
the site. Take a photographer and give me a ring if it makes 

The photographer was reluctant to go on this assignment. 

"It's just a waste of time going out there," he said. "Planes 
are dropping like flies all over the place. What's so special 
about this one?" 

He finally agreed to go, but stubbornly he refused to 
photograph either McLean or his mother. He insisted that 
his instructions were only to take pictures of the airplane, no 
less and certainly no more. 

The editor, Clem Livingstone, was spending that weekend 
in Callander, thirty-six miles from Glasgow. McAuslane tele- 
phoned him about the matter and he decided to return im- 
mediately. Although this could simply be the story of a 
crashed German fighter miles off course, somehow it seemed 


to merit a full investigation. So by late Sunday afternoon, 
Livingstone was back in Ms office reading Simpson's story 
and examining the photographs. 

The German pilot was inaccessible, and the local police, 
with whom Simpson was on good terms, were unexpectedly 
reluctant to discuss the matter. The most Simpson could dis- 
cover was that Horn was in an unnamed hospital "some- 
where in Scotland." 

McAuslane assembled the sparse facts at his command. 
He had no idea whatever of the pilot's identity but suggested 
that his uniform could belong only to an officer of high social 
position. The highest tide he could think of was a Count. 

During the war every newspaper story that contained any 
mention of military matters had first to be submitted to the 
local censor. If he could not give a direction on whether 
it should be published, he had to seek guidance from his 
head office in London. The censor's office in Glasgow was 
on the second floor of a building in Bothwell Street. This 
building also contained the War Room for the Glasgow area 
which dealt with the civil defense, the security police, and 
the constant checks kept on people arriving and departing 
in vessels up and down the Clyde. 

McAuslane decided to take the typescript of the story to 
the censor himself, instead of sending it by messenger; he 
had a feeling that the censor's attitude towards the story 
might supply a clue to its importance. He climbed up the 
uncarpeted stairs with their walls plastered by notices warn- 
ing against careless talk, about the collection of emergency 
ration cards and the location of air-raid shelters, and handed 
his typed story across the desk to the censor, a pleasant- 
faced man of middle age. He sat down on one of the hard- 
backed wooden chairs in the cheerless little office and 
awaited the verdict. 

McAuslane was the only newspaperman there. Sunday 
afternoon, even in wartime, was not a time of great journal- 
istic activity. Idly, he looked at the clock above the censor's 


desk and checked it with his watch. He kicked his heels 
against the crossbar of the chair, wondering what the censor 
would say to this seemingly innocent story. 

The censor read it through and then took it out of the room 
to show a colleague; when he returned, each sheet bore an 
oval-shaped blue imprint of a rubber stamp: "Held CC." 
This meant that it should not be published; more, that it was 
unlikely that permission would ever be given for its publi- 

"What's the matter with it, then?" asked McAuslane. 
''There's nothing objectionable in it, surely?" 

"Nothing objectionable," agreed the censor, smoothing 
some sheets of paper on his desk with the palm of his hand. 
"Nothing objectionable at all. It's just rubbish, that's all." 

"But surely we can publish rubbish if we want to?" pur- 
sued McAuslane. 

"You'll not be publishing that rubbish," retorted the cen- 

It was then that McAuslane knew what he had previously 
only suspected. There must indeed be more in this appar- 
ently simple story of a German plane crashing on a Saturday 
night than had at first appeared. 


A strange atmosphere prevailed at any house where Hitler 
was working. Secretaries and aides and adjutants padded 
about trying to look important, carrying sheafs of paper and 
briefcases and files, and talking in whispers as though they 
were in a church or in some other holy place. In a sense, 
many of them believed they were, for Hitler, as well as being 
political and military head of the Third Reich, also com- 
manded other loyalties. He was the embodiment of the un- 
conquerable German people, a Wagnerian legend come to 

Pintsch, who had met Hitler many times with Hess, knew 
something about his hysterical ravings, his pathological in- 
ability to see a point of view other than his own if he did 
not wish. Now, as he waited, he watched for some friendly 
face. At length, after ten in the morning, he saw Dr. Fritz 
Todt, Hitler's Minister of Armaments and Munitions, the 
man who had built the Siegfried Line, sitting with what com- 
posure he could muster in one of the rococo easy chairs. 

"I understand you have an appointment with the Fiihrer, 
Dr. Todt?" Pintsch said. 


"That is so," said Todt. "It's down for eleven o'clock, but 
I want to see him sooner if I can." 

"Dr. Todt/' said Pintsch, sitting down in a chair beside 
him, "I would like to ask you a very great favor. I've just 
arrived from Munich with a special sealed dispatch to the 
Fiihrer from Herr Hess. It is of the utmost importance that 
I deliver this at the earliest possible moment. I would not 
ask this favor normally, but in these circumstances I would 
be most grateful for your permission to have a brief interview 
with the Fiihrer, and to hand him this, before you see him." 

"Certainly, Pintsch/' said Dr. Todt. "By all means. I take 
it that you won't be very long delivering this dispatch?" 

"I should think not more than a few moments, sir/' replied 

As they spoke, Hitler came down the central staircase. He 
was wearing a dark gray uniform and soft leather shoes. His 
face was expressionless and rather pallid. He had been work- 
ing in his study since seven that morning. 

Dr. Todt and Karlheinz Pintsch stood up, clicked their 
heels together and bowed towards their Fiihrer. He acknowl- 
edged their presence with a nod. 

Pintsch took a pace forward. "Mein Fiihrer/' he began> 
"I have a message here from Herr Hess." 

Hitler held up his hand. 

"Wait a minute, Pintsch," he said. "Can't you see that Dr. 
Todt is here? He has been wanting to see me for some time. 
I'll see you afterwards." 

He turned to the Minister, but Pintsch stood his ground. 

"Mein Fiihrer," he persisted, "I have already spoken with 
HeiT Minister Todt and explained the importance of my 
letter. He is quite willing that I should present this to you 

n , ?> 


"So?" said Hitler. He was now in the hall. He stood look- 
ing at Pintsch, eye to eye, a rather small, pudgy figure in his 
undress uniform. He was so close that Pintsch could see the 
open pores around his fleshy nose. 

"Very well, Pintsch/' he said. "Give me the letter." 


Pintsch put his hand into his inside jacket pocket and 
pulled out the sealed envelope. 

"Come into the study," said Hitler. An orderly opened the 
door into a wide room paneled in light wood with a red 
marble floor. 

This room was the heart of the house. It had huge win- 
dows that could slide away to give the illusion that the 
breathtaking view of the mountains beyond was actually in- 
side the room, like some magnificent landscape painting 
come to life. Hitler worked standing up at his table, with a 
gigantic globe at one side. On it stood a wide, shaded read- 
ing lamp, a bowl of flowers, a blotter, and two glass inkwells. 
Here he signed his papers, corrected his speeches, drafted 
memoranda, considered military plans, and made the deci- 
sions that had changed the face of Europe. 

This room, too, had seen some of the greatest events in 
his career and more were to come. 

Here he had received Mussolini and King Carol of Ro- 
mania, as well as Neville Chamberlain. Here he had inter- 
viewed Schuschnigg and set in motion the machinery that 
ended the independence of Austria. Here, too, on the last 
day of 1940, with France, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Aus- 
tria all his, with Britain seemingly on the edge of defeat and 
with plans already in progress to invade Russia, he had 
raised his glass for once filled with champagne and 
toasted the complete victoiy he was sure the New Year 
would bring. 

The room would also see darker moments. Here he would 
sit among a group of guests, their faces as pale as his own, 
while the great German ship Bismarck drifted rudderless, 
and at the mercy of the waves and British guns, after she had 
sunk the Hood. Radio messages from the doomed crew two 
thousand Germans locked in a floating iron tomb hundreds 
of miles away on a bitter sea poured in, and there was 
nothing whatever their Fiihrer could do to help them, except 
to listen and to mourn. 

Here, too, in this room, Hitler would hear other news as 


the shadows of his defeats grew longer. At this desk he re- 
ceived first news of a setback at the Baranov bridgehead on 
the Russian front, which began the German retreat from the 
east, and marked the end of a dream that so nearly came 
true. Here, too, a pale-faced orderly would deliver the mes- 
sage that told him of the Allied invasion of France, news 
that marked the end of his triumphs. 

Now Hitler walked across the thick beige carpet to his 
desk, and then turned to face Pintsch. He looked at him for 
a few moments in silence, removed a pair of reading spec- 
tacles from his breast pocket, and put them on. With the 
bright spring sunshine from the vast window pouring in over 
his shoulder, he opened the envelope and began to read. 

After the first few lines he looked up at Pintsch. 

'Where is Hess now?" he asked. Standing stiffly at atten- 
tion, thumbs in line with the seams of his breeches, Pintsch 
replied, "Yesterday evening, Mein Fiihrer, at 1810 hours, he 
flew from Augsburg to Scotland to see the Duke of Hamil- 

"At this particular point in the war that could be a very 
hazardous escapade," said Hitler gravely, and picked up the 
letter again. 

As he read on, his brows contracted. He put down the 
letter and pressed a buzzer. An adjutant appeared. 

"Find out where Reichsmarschall Goring and Herr von 
Ribbentrop are," he told him. 

Hitler read the letter through a second time, before the 
adjutant reappeared, clicking his heels. 

"Reichsmarschall Goring is in Niirnberg, and Herr von 
Ribbentrop will be here for lunch," he reported. 

"I must see them both at once. It is a matter of the highest 

The adjutant bowed and withdrew. Hitler picked up the 
letter again, and this time he read it through aloud in a voice 
little more than a whisper: 

.... And if this project which I admit may have only a small 
chance of success ends in failure and the Fates decide against 


me, this can have no detrimental results either for you or for 
Germany: it will always be possible for you to deny all responsi- 
bility. Simply say that I was crazy. . . .* 

Hitler lowered the letter and turned away from Pintsch, 
looking out over the mountains towards Salzburg. The room 
seemed very still. Sunshine glittered on the glass covers of 
the bookshelves on the far wall. The scent of the flowers was 
very strong. 

Another door opened. Eva Braun came in. She was wear- 
ing a tweed skirt and woolen sweater, with flat walking shoes. 
She looked at the two men, and then announced in a small 
voice, "Lunch is ready." Hitler nodded. He could see Dr. 
Todt later on. He folded up the letter, carefully replaced it 
in the envelope, and put it in his right-hand jacket pocket. 

Pintsch hesitated. He had not been dismissed. Hitler 
seemed to ignore him. As they walked along the pillared 
corridor to the dining room, Martin Bormann came out of 
a room. 

"What's happening?" he asked Pintsch > in a whisper. Like 
his younger brother, he could not understand why Pintsch 
was there without his master. 

"The Stellvertreter has flown to Scotland/' Pintsch ex- 

Bormann backed away precipitately, anxious to avoid any 
contact that might involve him. "To Scotland?" he repeated 
incredulously. "This has nothing to do with me. I know noth- 
ing about it," he said. "Don't try to involve me." 

They reached the dining room. Todt was already there 
with Dr. Otto Dietrich, Hitler's press adviser, Walter Hewel, 
one of Ribbentrop's assistants from the Foreign Office, and 
Gen. Karl Bodenschatz, from the Air Force. 

Usually lunch in the Berghof began at three o'clock in the 
afternoon, when Hitler had finally finished what he called 
his "morning conferences." But on this particular Sunday 
lunch was early. Later in the afternoon a special reception 
was being arranged for Admiral Darlan. 

* Memorized by Frau Use Hess and made available to the author. 


The meal was simple. Hitler, who lived almost entirely on 
vegetables, for even bread and butter gave him indigestion, 
had dishes of tomato ketchup, mushrooms, curds and yo- 
ghurt prepared by his Viennese dietetic cook. 

The others at his table Eva Braun, his mistress; Martin 
Bormann, the Party Chancellor; Ribbentrop, his Foreign 
Minister; Air Gen. Ernst Udet, and Capt. Karlheinz Pintsch 
were served soup, then the single main course of meat 
which guests were allowed during the war years, and a 
dessert of fruit. 

Hitler took a final drink of the mineral water he favored 
for alcohol was repugnant to him and stood up. He bent to 
kiss Eva Braun's hand, the signal that lunch was formally 
over, and the other guests pushed back their chairs on the 
polished wood floor. 

At last, among the familiar faces, Pintsch felt he could 
relax. After all, he had lunched with Hitler, and not at one 
of the small round tables reserved for adjutants and other 
guests of low degree, but at the Fiihrer's own table. He was 
entitled to feel that the news he brought came as no sur- 
prise. He was grateful that Hitler had not stormed or raged 
at him as he did when he received bad news. 

On one wall of the dining room, paneled in light wood, 
was a gilded clock, with imitation rays of light stretching 
out from each figure. As lunch ended, they pointed to 3:30 
P.M. Usually after lunch on Sundays, as Pintsch knew very 
well, Hitler went out into the yard and fed liis police dog 
and took a brief walk to a small tea pavilion, about fifteen 
minutes' distance away. Then he liked to retire to his sitting 
room on the first floor of the Berghof, which had a balcony 
and a bedroom adjoining it. 

There he would remain until half past eight in the eve- 
ning, when the same house guests would assemble for dinner 
but always sit down in a different order. There were two 
exceptions to this last rule. Eva Braun always sat at Hitler's 
right, and next to her sat Bormann. 

On this Sunday, however, Hitler had more important 

tilings on his mind than feeding his dog. He walked around 
the table and then paused behind Pintsch's chair. Pintsch 
turned and looked uneasily into Hitler's sallow, rather greasy 
face, not knowing whether to rise or to remain seated. 

On one side of him, Bormann stood up and backed away. 
He wanted no part of any discussion between them. He was 
too shrewd an ingratiator to give an opinion even if this were 
sought. And he was particularly anxious not to become in- 
volved in this business of Hess's flying to Scotland. 

This was Bormann's dilemma. If Hess were successful in 
his mission of peace then Pintsch could be useful to him. 
More likely, however, Hess would not succeed. In this case, 
Pintsch was expendable. 

Since no one would know for some hours yet which of 
these situations obtained, the most prudent course was to 
appear neutral for as long as possible. But Bormann could 
not escape so easily. The Fiihrer touched Mm on the shoulder 
and gave an almost imperceptible nod towards the door. 

Bormann understood. Keeping his eyes carefully away 
from Pintsch's face, he left the room. Within a moment he 
was back, accompanied by two young captains of Hitler's 
personal guard, wearing revolvers at their belts. They 
marched across the room and stood behind Pintsch's chair. 
He tried to read some message of hope, some sign of friend- 
ship in their faces, but they were as bland and expressionless 
as death masks. 

Bormann cleared his throat. 

"Karlheinz Pintsch," he said in his rasping voice, "you are 
under arrest. You will be held under house arrest at Ober- 
salzberg until a court of inquiry can be held into your part 
in the events of today. Heil, Hitler!" 

Pintsch stood up. Although he was not a small man, his 
guards were a head taller than he was. Almost impercepti- 
bly they moved closer to his side. He bowed slightly to the 
Fiihrer and to the rest of the company, clicked his heels, and 
marched across the room between them, all in step. 

The other guests watched him go. The room was so silent 


that Pintsch heard the squeaking of his new leather boots as 
they walked. He hoped that the others could not also hear 
the thumping of his heart. 

The door shut behind him, and in silence the three men 
walked side by side down the wide marble staircase to the 
ground floor. As they walked, Pintsch permitted himself a 
wry smile; his departure was so very different from his 
arrival in Hess's private railway coach a few hours earlier! 

A small car was waiting for him outside, with its engine 
running. It was possibly the same one that had come to 
meet him at the station when he arrived. Pintsch was pushed, 
not unkindly, into the back seat with a guard on either side, 
and they jerked away down the mountain road, the taste of 
Hitler's lunch still on his tongue. 

Now that they were on their own, with no superior to 
call them to order, the two captains relaxed perceptibly. 

"What's all this about, anyhow, Pintsch?" one of them 
asked easily. "I never thought we'd be having you in the 
guard room! Nothing serious, I hope?" 

Pintsch shrugged. It could be either very serious or a cause 
for promotion. As with many great military and political 
decisions, the difference between success and failure could 
even be the difference between life and death. Clearly, his 
guards did not yet know why he was under arrest. They 
pestered him with questions. Pintsch shook his head and re- 
fused to answer. 

"It's a long story," he said. "Too long to tell here." 

In Hitler's study, the Fiihrer confronted Goring, who had 
arrived in a great hurry during lunch, anxious to know the 
reason for his call. The adjutant had been unable and un- 
willing to say on the telephone why he was wanted. 

Hitler explained briefly what had happened. First, Goring's 
face registered incredulity, then anger. Finally, as he grasped 
its significance, he became reassuring. 

"Hell never reach Scotland, mein Fiihrer," he said sooth- 
ingly. "If he's flying a ME no he hasn't the range, for one 

tiling. I tell you, he's down in the German ocean already, and 
food for the fish." 

"He's had extra petrol tanks fitted to give him range," 
Hitler pointed out. "Anyway, you don't know Hess like I 
do. He'll get there all right. At this very moment, he's prob- 
ably sitting down to lunch with the Duke of Hamilton in 



This was not quite accurate. At that precise moment, Hess 
was lying in bed in Buchanan Castle at Drymen. Two soldiers 
with fixed bayonets stood guard outside the room of the 
Deputy Fiihrer. Hess lay, eyes closed, the pallor of his face 
accentuated by his black hair and the stubble already dark- 
ening his chin. It was barely eighteen hours since he had 
arrived, but so far as he was concerned, he had been there 
an eternity, for nothing had gone according to his hopes and 

True, he had seen the Duke of Hamilton, but it had not 
been as he had often pictured the meeting, between equals. 
Hess was in bed and under guard for the interview. Worse, 
the Duke, while polite, had been formal to the point of 
asking him how he could prove he was Hess. 

A few hours earlier, when Hess was on his way to the 
Busby Scout hall, Air Marshal Sholto Douglas, the Chief of 
Fighter Command, was on duty in the Fighter Command 
Ops Room at Bentley Priory, in Stanmore, Middlesex. News 
reached him that a Messerschmitt no was down outside 
Glasgow, a report that at first he found hard to believe be- 


cause he knew that such an aircraft could not possibly carry 
enough fuel from Germany to return. Then the Commander 
of No. 34 Group, the Royal Observer Corps, telephoned him 
from Glasgow with further information. 

"We've got the pilot of that ME no, sir/ 5 he reported. "He 
says he's Rudolf Hess. He's in hospital now and wants to see 
the Duke of Hamilton." 

The men of the Observer Corps who, when they had 
earlier reported that the Messerschmitt was flying over Glas- 
gow unaccompanied, had been caustically advised to "take 
more water with it," were naturally elated at this vindication 
of their own accuracy in aircraft recognition. 

The city's Assistant Group Officer, Graham Donald, had 
driven out to Eaglesham to examine the wreckage of the 
plane, and then he followed Hess to the little Scout hut. He 
had not spoken to Hess, but something about his dark craggy 
eyebrows, his stiff military bearing, rang a bell of recognition. 
This middle-aged pilot with the gold watch and the capsules 
of medicine was the Deputy Fiihrer of the Third Reich. 

For the four nights before Hess landed, German aircraft 
had made dispersed raids in many parts of Scotland. The 
Duke and his officers had been on duty for most of these 
nights, and indeed had slept very little all that week. On the 
afternoon of Saturday, May 10, the Duke flew a Hurricane 
to Drem fighter station in North Berwick. Over the Firth of 
Forth he indulged in a practice dogfight with his second-in- 

They returned later that afternoon, hoping for an early 
and undisturbed night. 

In the early evening one solitary German airplane was 
reported to have crossed the east coast of Scotland near Holy 
Island and to be flying inland. This news was received with 
less than enthusiasm at the air base at Turnhouse, for they 
thought that it could possibly be a German weather machine 
sent out in advance of a big raid to test weather conditions 
on the spot. 


Then news came that this airplane had apparently dived 
from about 18,000 feet and then flown on across Scotland at 
about 50 feet, just above the rooftops. The Observer Corps 
reported that it was an ME no. There was an acrimonious 
discussion between the Observer Corps and the R.A.F. as to 
how an ME no could possibly be so far from home. A 
fighter from Turnhouse went up after it, but such was the 
plane's speed that they could not even approach it. 

Then came a report that the plane had crashed in flames 
outside Eaglesham. On top of this came the more important 
news that a heavy raid had begun on London. 

"At least," thought the Duke, "that means a chance of a 
quiet night here." 

He left the Ops Room, and -went to bed. 

Hardly had his head touched the pillow than the tele- 
phone rang. The Controller spoke to him urgently. 

'Will you please come to the Ops Room, sir, at once?" 

"Why, is there an attack?" asked the Duke. 


"Are there any Germans about?" 

"No, sir." 

'Then why the devil should I come back?" demanded the 
Duke. "I've only just got into bed." 

C We have some information that I think you should know 
immediately," the officer explained guardedly. 

Wearily, the Duke of Hamilton rose, dressed and crossed 
to the Ops Room. He was told that the pilot of the solitary 
airplane had landed by parachute. He had given his name 
as Hauptmann Alfred Horn and wanted to speak to the Duke 

Within minutes, Fighter Command and possibly even the 
Prime Minister's office knew that this German, Alfred Horn, 
had landed and asked specifically to speak to the Duke of 
Hamilton. But no one knew that he was Hess and the 
Duke, who knew no one called Horn, had no idea who he 
could be. 

The Duke rang the interrogating officer. 

Rudolf Hess as a First World War pilot 

Rudolf Hess in Tripoli, 1937; a 
photograph taken by his wife. 

Hess and Karl Haushofer. 

A picture of Rudolf Hesss house 
in Munich before it was bombed 

in 1944. 

Youth rally at Nuremberg, 1938. Hess, Hitler and von Schirach 

10. Mai 1941 

z ttarkere ehrsefcichtige 

Bntere Bewdlkuag an dim Slid- dr 

aufgalockcrt. .,, . ... , } 

in raehreren Schichtea t la tief 

heratreichcnd und gcsdilossen f Hi t 

imtere Bewblkimg ziach Siiden kin 

L'orden "bedckt und 

Photostat of weather report Hess received before making his flight on May 10, 1941 

Hess takes off 

Hess prepares for his flight to 
Britain. (Pictures taken at Augs- 
burg airfield by his adjutant and 


The engine won't start 

David McLeans cottage at Eaglesham, Scotknd, where Hess landed. 

A drawing Hess made for his son, 
Wolf Rudiger, soon after he 
landed in Scotland on May 10, 
1941 , His wife and friends thought 
it contained some clue to his 
whereabouts; it did not. 

Frau Hess and her son, Wolf Rudiger, today, at the hotel she man- 
ages, Die Bergherberg, Hindeland. 

Frau Ness's mountain chalet, Die Bergherberg, Hindeland. 

Front door of the chalet with 
their old letter-box with the sur- 
name Hess on it. 

The gatepost of Hesss house in 
Munich as U is today. The house 
was destroyed in 1944. 

"When are you going to interview this German who wants 
to speak to me?" he asked him. 

"Tomorrow morning, sir," replied the officer. 

Til come with you/' the Duke told him. 

Next morning, Sunday, they drove together to Maryhill 
Barracks where Hess was under guard in the sick bay. Be- 
fore they went into the room, where Hess lay in bed under 
white sheets and regulation red blankets, the Duke of Ham- 
ilton was shown the odd selection of items Hess had brought 
over: his phials and tubes and capsules of homeopathic 
remedies, and his photographs of himself and his son. 

Hess asked to speak to the Duke alone. 

As the other officer withdrew and the door shut, the 
Deputy Fiihrer announced dramatically, "I am Reichsminis- 
ter Hess." 

The Duke replied that he could not say whether this was 
so or not. 

"I can give you proof of my identity/' said Hess, feeling 
under his pillow for his wallet. Triumphantly, he produced 
the photographs he had already shown to the McLeans. 

"There you are/ 5 he said, holding out a photograph of 
himself. "That proves it. This is a picture of me." 

"I can see that indeed/' agreed the Duke. "But because 
it is a picture of you it does not mean that it is a picture of 

The two men looked at each other, the Duke in puzzle- 
ment, Hess in disappointment. 

"I never thought of that/' replied Hess slowly. "I never 
thought of that." 

It was too much. Hess shut his eyes. Reaction from the 
strain of the long flight was setting in. Mingled with this 
reception, it produced an amalgam of despair. He began to 
mutter about his hopes for negotiating peace between Britain 
and Germany, his need to meet some senior Government 
representative. e l am on a mission of humanity/ he explained. 
'The Fiihrer does not want to defeat England. He wants to 
stop fighting.' 


Hess did not speak English very well, and the Duke's 
German was a little rusty. Hess, however, began to give the 
reasons for his flight, and to talk of his hopes for making 
peace between Britain and Germany. Partly to give himself 
time to decide what he should do, and partly because of the 
language difficulty., the Duke interrupted him and explained 
that he wished to fetch an interpreter. Then they could dis- 
cuss the matter further and more fully. Hess nodded agree- 

On his way out of his room, the Duke saw the officer in 
charge of the sick bay. 

"You might have a very important prisoner here," he told 
him. "I think it would be wise to move him out of Glasgow, 
and keep him somewhere in secret with a double guard." 

Hess was therefore moved to the military hospital in Bu- 
chanan Castle. 

The Duke put tw r o or three photographs of Horn in his 
wallet, in case they should prove useful for identification, 
and then drove back to Turnhouse. He traveled by way of 
Floors Farm, Eaglesham, where he examined the crashed 
Messerschmitt. He was quite thankful that the drive took 
about an hour because, as he says now, "My mind was burn- 
ing as to what the next step should be." 

On his return to Turnhouse he telephoned his Air Officer 
Commanding and asked for immediate leave. He explained 
that he had something of the highest urgency to communi- 
cate to the Foreign Office something that related to his 
earlier discussions with the Intelligence people. 

"Who will command the station?" asked the A.O.C., not 
much concerned with odd communications to the Foreign 

The Duke named an officer, and leave was granted. 

He then telephoned direct to the Foreign Office in London 
and asked to speak personally to Sir Alexander Cadogan, the 
Permanent Undersecretary. Finally, after being referred from 
one department to another, he made contact with Sir Alex- 
ander's secretary. The Duke was naturally unwilling to ex- 

plain the reason for Ms call on an open line, but insisted 
that he had something of the highest importance to pass on. 
The secretary did not appear impressed by this information. 

"Sir Alexander is an extremely busy man/' he replied over 
the miles of wire. "He might be able to see you in a week 
or ten days' time. He is very, very busy." 

"But this is a matter of the utmost urgency," persisted 
the Duke, justifiably irritated by this reply and yet quite 
unable to give any hint as to what the matter might be. 

For some time they argued fruitlessly and fractiously and 
at cross purposes, and then another voice began to speak, 
and the secretary withdrew. The newcomer was Jock Col- 
ville, Mr. Churchill's personal secretary. 

"The Prime Minister understands you have something im- 
portant to tell him," said Colville briskly. 

The Duke of Hamilton agreed that this was so, but he 
could not go into details on the telephone. 

"Look," he said briefly. "I'll be at Northolt in one and a 
half hours from now. Kindly have a car there for me, and 
I'll explain the whole thing." 

On the tarmac outside his office a Hurricane aircraft stood 
ready to be delivered to a squadron near London. The Duke 
decided to fly this down to Northolt and gave orders for it 
to be fueled and checked. Within half an hour he was in the 

He landed at Northolt late in the afternoon and reported 
to the watch hut. An officer said that an urgent message 
awaited him. What was it? he asked. No one was quite sure; 
the message was sealed, but apparently it contained im- 
portant instructions. The Duke opened the envelope. 

Inside was a short note; he was to fly on to Kidlington 
airfield, a few miles outside Oxford. This was the airfield 
nearest to Ditchley Park, where the Prime Minister was 
spending the weekend. 

While he was in the watch hut, some junior pilot had 
climbed into the Hurricane and for reasons of his own had 
started to "dope" the engine, priming a hand pump to the 

carburetors. When the Duke of Hamilton took the controls 
again, the engine, new and hot after its long flight from Scot- 
land, found the mixture far too rich and refused to start. 
After trying for about twenty minutes, the Duke had to ad- 
mit defeat. He could not spend any more time on it. 

He therefore sought out the duty officer, a young flight 
lieutenant, and told him what had happened. 

"You've got to give me a plane," he explained urgently. 
"I don't care what it is, but I must have some sort of airplane 
to fly to Kidlington. It's a matter of the highest priority." 

The flight lieutenant did his best to find an airplane, but 
all seemed in use or under other orders. Eventually, a little 
Magister training aircraft was discovered in a hangar, and 
this was wheeled out for the Duke. 

Waiting only long enough to check the fuel, he flew on 
to Kidlington. On landing he taxied the plane to the end of 
the runway ; cut his engine and climbed out. 

An enormous black car was waiting for him on the edge 
of the tarmac. The chauffeur saluted. 

"The Duke of Hamilton?" he asked. The Duke nodded. 
The man held open the rear door of the car for him, and he 
climbed in thankfully, leaving the aircraft where it stood. 

He never saw either the Magister or the Hurricane again; 
and no one has ever asked him what happened to them- 

"Where are you taking me?" he asked the driver, as he 
sank back on the cushions. 

"To Ditchley Park, sir. To see the Prime Minister." 

Until then the Duke had no idea why he had been in- 
structed to fly to Kidlington; he had thought vaguely that 
perhaps Sir Alexander Cadogan must have found time to see 
him after all. 

That weekend Churchill was at Ditchley Park, with sev- 
eral of his staff: "the Prof," Prof. Frederick Lindemann, later 
Lord CherwelJ, his scientific adviser; General Hastings 
Ismay, now Lord Ismay, his military secretary; Brendan 
Bracken, later the Minister of Information, and some others. 

Ditchley Park, an estate of roughly 4,300 acres, was a few 

miles from Blenheim Palace where Churchill was born. 
Owned by Mr. and Mrs. Ronald Tree, old friends of the 
Prime Minister, it was an eighteenth-century mansion built 
on the grand scale, with seven reception rooms, twenty-four 
bedrooms and ten bathrooms, a dower house and thirty cot- 

Sir Walter Scott had made Ditchley famous in Woodstock. 
Churchill made it even more famous during the war, for this 
was his secret headquarters on weekends when the moon 
was full and Chequers presented too obvious a target for 
German bombers. 

In a small wooden cubicle off the hall sat Miss Mary 
Shearburn, the duty secretary, ready to take any incoming 

If their importance warranted interrupting the Prime 
Minister, she would type out the message on a slip of paper 
and carry it in to him. 

Throughout that Sunday evening the telephone kept ring- 
ing with news of the previous night's gigantic air raid on 
London, the worst of the entire war. Streets, squares, whole 
districts were in ruins and ablaze; the water pumps ran dry, 
the casualties were unknown, and at that time unknowable. 
Nothing comparable had occurred to the capital since the 
Great Fire three centuries earlier. Each new report of 
the spread of death and devastation was taken in to the 
Prime Minister; twice he left his seat to ask for further de- 

The Duke of Hamilton arrived at Ditchley Park to find 
Churchill and his guests finishing dinner; they wore dinner 
jackets or service uniforms. 

The Duke was, of course, well known to the Prime Min- 
ister; they had met many times in the House of Commons in 
the days when the Duke had been a member of Parliament, 
and elsewhere. 

"What's all this?" asked the Prime Minister gruffly, as they 
shook hands. 

"Sir, I regret that I cannot possibly tell you in public/* 

replied the Duke. "I must see you in private." Churchill 
looked at him quizzically for a moment and gave a little 


As the meal finished, the guests left the room one by one. 
Soon Churchill was alone with Sir Archibald Sinclair, the Air 
Minister, and the Duke of Hamilton. As soon as the door 
was closed, the Duke explained that a German giving the 
name of Alfred Horn, but claiming to be Rudolf Hess, had 
parachuted down in Scotland and had asked to speak to him 
personally. He had gone to see him. Horn or Hess had an- 
nounced that he came to offer peace to Britain, The Duke 
produced the photographs of him; certainly he looked like 

For some time after the Duke finished talking, no one 

"Churchill," he says now, "looked at me as though I was 
out of my mind." 

Indeed, in the improbable surroundings of a great coun- 
try house, remote from the war, the whole story must have 
sounded almost unbelievable. Then Churchill broke the si- 

"Well, never mind Hess for the moment/' he said gruffly. 
"I'm going to see the Marx Brothers." 

A projector had been set up in another room, where the 
other guests sat waiting for the Prime Minister to join them. 
The Duke was given a comfortable chair, but, exhausted by 
the events of the day and his lack of sleep on the four 
previous nights, he immediately fell asleep, and remembers 
nothing about the film, which was The Marx Brothers Go 

At midnight, he awoke. The picture had finished, the 
lights in the room were being turned up, and Churchill, re- 
freshed and full of energy, was preparing to start work for 
the second time that day. 

He put on his magnificent mandarin dressing gown, em- 
broidered with red and gold dragons, pulled the belt tightly 
around him and lit a new cigar. Then, until nearly two 


o'clock in the morning he cross-examined the Duke on his 
meeting with Hess, and the events that led up to it. 

"He asked me every conceivable question/' says the Duke. 
"I made the answers as factual as I could, and then he asked 
me for my opinions. Did I think that this man really was 
Hess? I replied that I did. He wouldn't have mentioned Al- 
brecht Haushofer if he had not been Hess." 

Finally, Churchill sat back and as though tliinking aloud, 
he said slowly, "The worm is in the apple/' 

But was this man lying in a Glasgow hospital bed under 
guard really Rudolf Hess, or was he an impersonator, briefed 
for some secret mission? * the Prime Minister asked Hamil- 
ton. If he was Hess, why was he over here? Was the news 

of his arrival being broadcast bv Germanv? 

o s s 

The only way to discover whether Horn was actually Hess 
was to confront him with someone who could question him 
closely about his background, his family, his beliefs. Even 
though an impersonator would have arrived well briefed as 
to Hess's background, it was unlikely that his cover story 
could stand up to a rigorous cross-examination. But by then 
the hour was so late that nothing could be done about the 
matter. Everyone therefore went to bed. 

By this time Hess had been in British hands for more 
than twenty-four hours. For all the progress he had made, 
for all he had achieved since he left Augsburg nearly thirty 
hours ago, he realized that he might as well have stayed at 

After breakfast next morning, the Duke of Hamilton mo- 
tored back to London in a convoy of three cars. Churchill 
sat in the first, the Duke in the second, and some other of- 
ficers traveled in the third. 

* Doubles were used during the war on several occasions, most notably 
before D day in 1944. Then the British employed an actor, Clifton James, 
to impersonate General Montgomery. He flew to Gibraltar, stayed with the 
Governor, then traveled on to North Africa. The intention was to delude the 
German high command into believing that an Allied landing would probably 
come from the Mediterranean instead of Normandy. The maneuver was suc- 


They drove at a fantastic speed, through streets virtually 
emptied of other traffic by petrol rationing. Their drivers 
crossed against red lights, ignored policemen's signals, and 
swept by on the wrong side of street islands. 

Once, in Western Avenue, on the outskirts of Chiswick, 
a prowling police car accelerated from a side street to try to 
stop them. The police driver passed the third car, drew level 
with the Duke in the second, and then came up behind 
Churchill in the leading vehicle. All the time his gong was 
booming like a temple bell. 

Not for one moment did Churchill's chauffeur slacken 
pace. Instead, he gave reply, sounding an even louder gong 
with which the Prime Minister's car was fitted. The police, 
recognizing the occupant, fell away smartly. 

The convoy reached Downing Street by ten o'clock, and 
Churchill at once called Anthony Eden, the Foreign Secre- 
tary, into his room and told him what had happened. 

"If this is Hess, it may be that he is fleeing from his coun- 
try," Churchill pointed out. "You must look into this closely." 

The Duke then went to Eden's office and told him in de- 
tail of his interview at Maryhill Barracks. 

By this time it was afternoon. Sir Alexander Cadogan was 
contacted; he, in turn, telephoned Ivone (now Sir Ivone) 
Kirkpatrick in his office at the B.B.C. where he was Con- 
troller of European Services. Kirkpatrick had been First Sec- 
retary in the British Embassy in Berlin from 1933 to 1938, 
and was acknowledged to be one of the greatest experts on 
the Nazi party. He would clearly be able to tell whether 
Horn was indeed Hess, or a double. 

"Tell me," Sir Alexander asked casually. "Did you see 
much of Rudolf Hess when you were in Germany?" 

"I did," replied Kirkpatrick. 

<4 Do you think you knew him well enough to be able to 
Identify him now with certainty if you saw him again?" 

"I'm certain of it. I couldn't fail to recognize him." 

"That's what I thought," replied Cadogan. "I don't want 
to say any more now on this open line, but I think it would 

be a good idea if you could come round to see me at once in 
the Foreign Office." 

Rather mystified, Kirkpatrick drove through the gray 
streets of London, where shopwindows sagged open, then- 
splintered glass held by patchworks of paper strips. Rubble 
lay piled on the pavements, huge craters contained such un- 
likely sights as buses upside down, bedsteads, the entire 
plumbing system of a block of flats. The blackened shells of 
ruined houses were still smoking after Saturday night's 
devastation. Dust hung thick in the air as demolition gangs 
and salvage teams toiled to remove the worst of the debris. 

Ivone Kirkpatrick showed his pass at the Foreign Office 
entrance and was immediately escorted to Sir Alexander's 
office. There the whole situation was explained to him. 

"Are you quite sure that you can recognize Hess without 
any possibility of a mistake?" Cadogan persisted. 

"Quite sure," replied Kirkpatrick, although he admitted 
later, "I did have one horrid moment of misgiving at the 
possibility of being hoaxed by an expert impersonator." * 

Sir Alexander then explained what had happened. He 
added that the Duke of Hamilton had already seen Hess 
and made a report on his interview. While they discussed the 
matter, Anthony Eden entered the room, from a War Cabi- 
net meeting. His instructions were that Kirkpatrick should 
first identify Hess beyond all dispute. Once he was positive 
that Horn was Hess, then he should transmit to the Foreign 
Office any statement the prisoner cared to make. 

Because of the urgency of the matter, a special plane was 
being prepared at Hendon to fly Kirkpatrick and the Duke of 
Hamilton to Scotland immediately. 

This sounded a most efficient arrangement, but it was bet- 
ter in the promise than the performance. It was not easy 
to find a suitable aircraft at once. Most airplanes capable of 
carrying two passengers in addition to the pilot were being 
used for more obviously warlike purposes that week. 

* Sir Ivone Augustine Kirkpatrick, The Inner Circle, Macmillan & Com- 
pany, Ltd., London, 1959. 

Eventually after some delay, a Flamingo was produced. 
This was a slow, rather outmoded airplane of the type that 
had carried Churchill with Beaverbrook, Halifax and Gen- 
eral Ismay to France eleven months earlier on the Prime 
Minister's desperate but unsuccessful attempt to persuade 
the French not to surrender. The plane took several hours to 
prepare, but by five o'clock that afternoon Kirkpatrick and 
the Duke of Hamilton sat back thankfully in the old-fash- 
ioned wicker chairs inside its cabin and awaited the takeoff. 

A strong headwind delayed them, and they were forced to 
come down near Catterick, the depot of the Brigade of 
Guards, to refuel at an R.A.F. airfield. No one had seen fit 
to inform the authorities at Catterick of their arrival or of the 
need for speed to send them on their way. Worse, the air- 
field had been heavily bombed during the weekend, with 
severe casualties. The officers concerned thus viewed with 
some distrust the sudden descent of this unlikely airplane in 
which one passenger claimed to be a Duke and the other a 
senior Foreign Office official. There were telephone calls and 
more delays. Finally, they were allowed fuel and took off 
on the last half of their journey. 

It was not until twenty to ten that night that the two men 
finally landed at Turnhouse, hungry, cold, and tired. 

The Duke was told that an urgent telephone call of No. i 
priority awaited him. He rushed to take it. The operator 
put him through immediately to the Secretary of State for 

"What's the result?" asked Sir Archibald Sinclair from 
London. "Is this man Hess?" 

"We have only just reached Turnhouse., sir," replied the 
Duke. "We haven't seen him yet." 

"There's just been a report on the German wireless that 
Hess is missing," said Sir Archibald. "You must see him as 
soon as you possibly can." 

"It will take a bit of time before we reach him/' explained 
the Duke. "He's been moved some miles from here." 

"Never mind," said Sir Archibald. "I must have your report 
as soon as possible." 


Such was the urgency that they did not stay for a meal, 
or even a wash, but raced on by car to Buchanan Castle. 
Because of the secrecy of their mission, the Duke asked his 
adjutant to drive them. 

Unfortunately, the adjutant was a stranger to the area. 
All road signs and place names had been removed through- 
out Britain some months previously to confuse German 
troops who might land in an invasion attempt. The lack of 
any signs confused the two travelers. Doors were locked and 
bolted at dusk, and locals were unwilling to help unknown 
motorists in case they should be spies or enemy agents. Thus, 
not unexpectedly, they lost their way, and it was after mid- 
night when they finally reached the castle. 

The Commandant was waiting for them in the yard, and 
led them immediately along ancient stone-flagged corridors, 
lit by unshaded electric bulbs, up flights of stairs so cold they 
could see their breath in front of them, until they reached a 
small wooden door under the roof. This opened onto a tiny 
room with a sloping ceiling, in peacetime used by some 
minor member of the household staff. 

A light flicked on and the three men looked down at the 
sleeping figure of Rudolf Hess. Wearing a pair of gray flan- 
nel pajamas which were the British army issue to soldiers 
in hospital, the Deputy Fiihrer lay in an iron bedstead, cov- 
ered by a brown army blanket. 

^Accustomed as I was to the pomp and splendour in which 
the Nazi nabobs lived, I surveyed the bare room in silence," 
wrote Kirkpatrick later. "Then we woke up the prisoner and 
after a moment of dazed uncertainty, he recognized me and 
gave me a warm welcome." * 

An orderly produced two wooden chairs and Hess pulled 
out from under his pillow a bundle of manuscript notes. 
Lying in his grotesque pajamas, unshaven, he propped him- 
self up on one elbow, and began to talk. 

On the journey north, Kirkpatrick had discussed with the 
Duke of Hamilton the Nazis and their faults, and had ex- 
plained how of them all he hated Hitler most. 



Now, instead of going at once into the object of Ms visit, 
Hess launched into a eulogy of Hitler, which lasted for one 
and a half hours. Kirkpatrick sat stoically and expressionless 
through all this outpouring. In view of his own earlier ob- 
servations about Hitler, this torrent of fulsome praise struck 
the Duke as being rather comical. 

Hess also, while recounting British and German relations 
over the past forty years, "sought to prove that Germany's 
legitimate aspirations had always been thwarted by the 
treacherous brutality of British policy." * 

The monologue might well have lasted even longer had 
not another No. i priority call brought Kirkpatrick to the 
telephone. The Foreign Secretary wanted to speak to him 
from Downing Street. 

"Have you interviewed him yet?" Mr. Eden asked. 

"We have," replied Kirkpatrick, "and we can definitely 
say that he is Hess." 

"Well, why has he come here?" 

"We don't know yet. He's spoken for one and a half hours 
so far, and he hasn't yet reached the point of explaining why 
he's here!" 

As these three men sat in such unlikely proximity in a 
bare attic room under the eaves of this ancient castle, a 
handful of men in a Glasgow newspaper office a few miles 
away were preparing to publish news of Hess's arrival in 
Scotland, regardless of censorship restrictions. They had 
reached this decision not out of bravado or for any political 
motives, but simply because they felt it was such a good 
story, and they were all such enthusiastic journalists that they 
could no longer keep it to themselves. 

When the censor told Max McAuslane on the previous 
afternoon that the account he had written of Hess's para- 
chute descent could not be published, McAuslane returned 
to the cffice, and his story was put on the spike. 

Even so, his editor, Clem Livingstone, was not disposed 

* ibid. 


to let matters rest there. He made a telephone call to a 
private radio monitoring service, run by Polish refugees in 
Scotland and maintained by the owners of the Daily Record. 

He asked to be informed directly they picked up any news 
broadcast from Germany that seemed to them to be in any 
way unusual This was indeed a very wide brief. 

Early on Monday evening, when the Duke of Hamilton 
and Ivone Kirkpatrick were still battling north in their Fla- 
mingo against a headwind, this enterprise was rewarded. A 
messenger boy brought John Simpson a brief note from the 
monitoring station: "Berlin Radio announces Rudolf Hess 

Hess, the Deputy Ftihrer, the confidant of Hitler, the sec- 
ond most dangerous man in the enemy camp! At once the 
expensive uniform of Hauptmann Horn, his handmade boots, 
his air of authority, the quiet dignity he had maintained 
through all his humiliations, fitted perfectly into a mosaic 
of identity. Simpson walked into Livingstone's little office, 
separated from his own by a frosted-glass screen, and laid 
the flimsy piece of typing paper on the editor's desk. 

"That's our boy friend/' he announced with a grin. Living- 
stone read the message and nodded. 

The two men looked at each other, the same thought in 
both their minds; they had achieved the scoop of a life- 
time, a story that would be told and retold around the world 
wherever journalists met, but would they ever be allowed 
to print it? On the assumption that a way around the censor- 
ship might somehow be found, Livingstone decided to pre- 
pare an edition announcing Hess's landing. But first he 
wanted proof that Horn was Hess. 

He told Simpson to collect a folder of photographs of men 
with dark hair and prominent eyebrows from the news- 
paper's photographic library and take them out to David 
McLean, to see whether he could easily identify his visitor 
from among them. 

Simpson collected pictures of Tyrone Power, Gary Grant, 
various local and national sports personalities, and one of 


Hess. Then, while the office Austin was brought round to 
the front of the building, he and Livingstone worked out a 
simple code to use when telephoning back the result of this 
test, in case any rival newspaper should overhear the call. 

If one of the McLeans agreed that Hess was their visitor, 
then Simpson would simply say, "Thumbs up, once." If two 
identified Hess, then he would say, "Thumbs up, twice/' And 
if McLean, his mother and his sister all identified Hess, he 
would say, "Thumbs up, three times." This would mean that 
there could be no possible doubt as to his identity. The onus 
of deciding how or whether the Daily Record could print 
this sensational news would then rest with Clem Living- 

While Simpson drove out to Eaglesham, the editor and his 
staff prepared a special edition using all the pictures and 
facts they could discover about Hess and his career. 

Meanwhile, in the McLeans' whitewashed cottage at 
Floors Farms, Simpson laid a photograph of Gary Grant on 
the kitchen table. 

"Is that the man?" he asked. McLean shook his head. 

"That's not the fellow," he said 

"Is this the man, then?" 

Simpson produced a picture of a famous international 
football player. 

"No, no, the man who was here on Saturday was a bigger 
fellow altogether and much older. He wasn't the sort of man 
Fd like to meet on a dark night!" 

Gradually all but one were eliminated. Then Simpson laid 
the photograph of Rudolf Hess on the table. He kept his 
hand over the face of another man in the picture Adolf 

"That's the man!" cried McLean instantly. "I'd recognize 
him anywhere." 

"What do you say?" Simpson asked Mrs. McLean. 

"I agree with David. That's the man who was here on 

"Yes, that's him all right," agreed Miss McLean. 

They stood looking at each other in the little homely 
kitchen with the oilcloth fixed by drawing pins to the table. 
At no time had Simpson mentioned the name of Hess, nor 
did he remove his hand to show that in the photograph Hess 
was talking to Hitler. None of the McLeans thought to ask 
more about their visitor. They still thought of him as Horn. 

Simpson went out to his car. At the first red painted tele- 
phone booth on the Glasgow Road he stopped, dropped two 
pennies in the coin box, and dialed the Record office. 

"Thumbs up, three times," he said triumphantly when 
Livingstcne came on the line. For Livingstone, in his small 
stuffy room in the center of the building, the moment of de- 
cision had come. Could he publish? Dare he publish? 

Censorship on newspapers in Britain during the war was 
advisory but not statutory. This meant that editors were 
technically free to publish at their own risk any news the 
censors had refused to pass. But by so doing, they laid them- 
selves open to prosecution and very severe penalties. The 
newspapers concerned could be closed, and the editors im- 
prisoned. They might thus easily ruin themselves profes- 
sionally by one foolish move. If Livingstone went ahead and 
published this news, on what grounds could he be charged? 
He was not helping the enemy, nor, so far as he could see, 
was he spreading "alarm or despondency" which, at that 
time, was almost equally dangerous and undesirable. 

Germany had already announced that Hess was missing; 
McLean had identified Horn as Hess. Thus, if Livingstone 
published the news that Hess had landed near Glasgow, he 
was only carrying public knowledge one step further. He did 
not see how the Germans could possibly put this information 
to any use against Britain. 

Like the other journalists involved, Livingstone who 
died some years ago does not appear to have considered 
the possibility of any serious purpose behind Hess's visit, or 
whether a premature announcement about his arrival could 
influence this in any way. It was enough and sufficient that 
he had arrived. The thought of a world scoop that could 

scarcely be equaled and never bettered, unless Hitler him- 
self flew to Scotland, ousted all other considerations. So 
Livingstone made up his mind. He would publish the news 
and risk the consequences. 

Nonetheless, he gave instructions to print a first edition 
of Tuesday's Daily Record that contained no reference what- 
ever to Hess. Livingstone feared that if he published his 
scoop in this early edition, rival newspapers would copy it, 
and within a few hours the story for which he was risking 
so much could be common property. 

Just after midnight, when the Duke of Hamilton and Ivone 
Kirkpatrick were climbing the stone steps to Hess's room in 
Buchanan Castle, Livingstone prepared to print his edition 
with the story under the headline RUDOLF HESS IN GLASGOW. 
At that moment, one of the teleprinting machines in the edi- 
torial office, which feed in news from news agencies, began 
to clatter into action. 

"Hess One/' the message began. Then followed a few 
wrong letters and figures jumbled up as the machine sorted 
out its electronic vocabulary, and finally: RUDOLF HESS IN 


The teleprinter chattered out a statement authorized by 
Mr. Duff Cooper, then Minister of Information, and issued 
from 10 Downing Street at 11:20 that night: 

Rudolf Hess, the Deputy Fiihrer of Germany and Party Leader 
of the National Socialist Party, has landed in Scotland in the fol- 
lowing circumstances. On the night of Saturday the loth inst, a 
Messerschmitt no was reported by our patrols to have crossed 
the coast of Scotland and to be flying in the direction of Glasgow. 
Since an ME no would not have the fuel to return to Germany 
this report was at first disbelieved. However, later on, a ME no 
crashed near Glasgow, with its guns untouched. Shortly after- 

* "For perhaps the only time in history, Scottish newspapermen did not 
pause to object to an inexactitude that normally acts on them as a raw 
irritant the use of 'England 7 when 'Britain 7 is meant. This once, they sub- 
mitted to England's embracing Scotland." 

-"Hie Aging Parachutist." 


wards a German officer who had baled out was found with his 
parachute in the neighbourhood suffering from a broken ankle. 

He was taken to hospital in Glasgow where he at first gave his 
name as Horn, but later on declared that he was Rudolf Hess. 
He brought with him various photographs of himself at different 
ages, apparently in order to establish his identity. 

These photographs were deemed to be photographs of Hess 
by several people who knew him personally. Accordingly, an of- 
ficer of the Foreign Office who was closely acquainted with Hess 
before the war has been sent up by airplane to see him in hos- 

So Livingstone's courage was rewarded. He had his scoop 
and he had it legally. He added one important word to his 
headline so that it read RUDOLF HESS IN GLASGOW OFFICIAL, 
and gave orders to begin printing. 

He telephoned to the circulation department with instruc- 
tions that no copies of editions containing this story were to 
leave the building until he personally gave permission. In 
the few hours available before copies went on sale, no other 
paper could produce anything like so strong a coverage as 
the Record, But some might try, simply by lifting the story 
and printing it as their own. 

To deny them this opportunity, Livingstone ordered that 
all doors leading to the street should be locked so that no 
one could leave the building. This would prevent a copy of 
the paper from reaching a rival's hands. Nowadays, such an 
act might result in union trouble. Then, owing to air raids, 
such orders were frequently given in the interests of safety. 
They simply meant that men coming off the night shift in 
the early hours of the morning walked down the stone stairs 
to their underground air-raid shelter where they drank tea, 
played cards and smoked and chatted, waiting for the all- 

Earlier that evening, a bomb had cut the main telephone 
link between London and Glasgow. Thus Livingstone dis- 
covered, not entirely to his distress, that he was unable to 


pass on his story to his newspaper's group headquarters in 
the Gray's Inn Road. He had the story to himself. 

As he digested this information, his telephone rang. The 
Associated Press was on the line. 

"Where are they speaking from?" asked Livingstone. 

"London," replied his assistant, handing him the instru- 

"How can you be?" Livingstone asked the caller. "The 
line's down. It's been bombed. I can't get through to London 

Vhe man ignored this. "What do you know about Rudolf 
Hess?" he asked. 

"Before I tell you," replied Livingstone, "you tell me how 
the devil you got through to me with the line down between 
here and London." 

"I rang the Air Ministry and they managed to fix me up 
somehow with a line to Edinburgh," the caller explained. 
"The Edinburgh exchange connected me up with you. Well, 
I've answered your question, so now can you answer mine?" 

"Before I tell you anything," said Livingstone, "will you 
promise to credit the Glasgow Daily Record in your mes- 

"Listen, bud," retorted the Associated Press man from his 
desk in London. "For this kind of story well credit the Lord 
God Almighty, if necessary." 

Livingstone began to speak, and as he spoke, Max Mc- 
Auslane entered the office. 

Throughout that week, he was working on a late night 
shift, from 8:30 each evening until four o'clock on the fol- 
lowing morning. During air raids reporters working these 
hours usually stayed at home until the all-clear sounded, 
not through any managerial concern for their safety, but 
simply because traveling became difficult during a raid. Also, 
they might reach their offices only in time to be sent back 
home to cover some local bomb story or incident. 

McAuslane, waiting in his flat in Maryhill for the all-clear, 


switched on his wireless for the midnight news, and heard 
that Hess had landed in Scotland, At once he realized its 
significance. He grabbed a raincoat, and disregarding the 
air raid, raced for the office. By the time he arrived, the edi- 
tion was roaring away. 

Livingstone sat Mm down near a powerful office radio to 
monitor foreign news bulletins, and make sure their news- 
paper was mentioned. Most of what McAuslane heard was 
completely unintelligible, but every now and then he recog- 
nized four words that could not readily be translated into 
Hindustani, Chinese, Malay, Portuguese or Spanish: "Rudolf 
Hess . . . Daily Record . . " 

It was enough; they had scooped the world. All through 
that night, news agencies and newspapers throughout 
Britain, and from neutral and allied countries, telephoned 
the Record office for further details. McAuslane dealt with 
most of these calls personally, repeating the details of his 
interview until his throat was hoarse. 

In the early hours, the line to London was repaired. One 
distant reporter used the opportunity to ask what Hess was 
having for breakfast. This question was impossible to an- 
swer. They didn't even know where Hess was, let alone what 
he was eating. 

"Oh, tell him chicken and white wine," said Livingstone 
wearily. McAuslane passed on this reply as a joke. It was 
printed as fact. Later this formed the basis of questions in 
the House by M.P/s, who considered it disgraceful that an 
enemy of Britain should live so luxuriously within these 
shores at a time of austerity and rationing. 

It was nearly midday on Tuesday before McAuslane 
finally went thankfully down the stairs into the wide front 
hall and out to catch his bus home after the most hectic night 
of his life. 

A few weeks later he joined the Royal Air Force. On his 
first morning in uniform he received a letter, forwarded on 
by his wife. It came from his late employers. They an- 


nounced tliat they had "pleasure in enclosing our cheque for 
your services rendered in connection with the story of the 
landing of Rudolf Hess." 

He looked at the cheque which was pinned to the letter. 

For all his work, for the priceless publicity he had helped 
to win his newspaper from innumerable other papers, maga- 
zines, news agencies, and broadcasting stations throughout 
the world, Max McAuslane was richer by six pounds less 
income tax. 



While this was going on in Britain, what was happening in 
Germany? Why did Berlin Radio admit that Rudolf Hess was 

Although those closest to Hitler realized that Hess had 
carried out what the Fiihrer wanted and with Hitler's 
knowledge except for the actual time and date of his flight, 
for this was largely dependent on the weather they were 
professional politicians, and as such anxious to cover them- 
selves in case Hess's mission failed. 

Privately, they thought that it would. Churchill was not a 
man to agree to peace on the terms that Hess could offer. 
But if by some incredible good fortune peace negotiations 
with Britain were to be opened, then naturally Hess would 
be acclaimed in Germany as a hero. In that unlikely case, 
no one, apart from a small group of high Nazis, need realize 
that there had been any doubts at all about the outcome. 
Thus Hitler waited with mounting impatience and irritation 
for news from Britain of his Deputy's arrival, and his subordi- 
nates prepared plans for disowning Hess and his mission in 

the event of failure. Hitler calculated that if Hess's visit was 
going to be successful, he should have some word back about 
it within hours. If no news arrived after, say, twelve hours, 
they could be fairly certain that Churchill was not willing 
to negotiate peace on any terms whatsoever. 

"Hess was supposed to send a message on his arrival," 
wrote Goring's biographer later.* "Hitler realized that some- 
thing had gone wrong when there was nothing but silence, 
tormenting silence, from Britain." 

This unexpected silence made Hitler think that Hess's 
flight was to be used by the British for propaganda purposes. 
It certainly contained lethal ammunition for an anti-Nazi 
broadside. If the situation were reversed and Anthony Eden 
had suddenly and unexpectedly parachuted onto Berchtes- 
gaden, Germany would certainly exploit that situation to the 
full. Hitler had no reason to believe that Britain would do 

The way in which they might do this and its effect upon 
opinion in Germany, Italy and Japan, quite apart from the 
rest of the world was appalling to consider. The best de- 
fense would naturally be to discredit Hess before the British 
mentioned him, but this was by no means easy to do, for 
Hess was both popular and important in Germany. 

For twenty years he had been the Fiihrer's friend and con- 
fidant. Thus, if it were announced that Hess had suddenly 
fled without Hitler's knowledge or consent, then why had 
he done so? Why should the second most important man in 
the Third Reich suddenly desert and fly to the enemy? If 
such a flight could be undertaken in the middle of the war 
by a person of his high authority and position without Hit- 
ler's consent, then what did Hess fear? Was there disagree- 
ment between the two top men in Germany? On the other 
hand, if it was announced that Hess had flown with the 
Fiihrer's knowledge of the plan, if not of its timing then 
what doubts gnawed at Hitler's mind that he should dis- 
patch his Deputy on such a desperate mission? 

* The Rise and Fatt of Hermann Goring. 

Clearly, whatever statements or denials were made, the 
majority of Germans would assume that Hitler had known 
of his intention. Otherwise how could Hess succeed in ac- 
quiring a suitable aircraft for his long journey? How could 
he receive weather reports as they would guess that he 
must have done and fly above all German defenses with- 
out any query? If ever news leaked out that he had actually 
asked Hitler's personal pilot in Hitler's private apartment 
for secret maps to help him on his way, the inference would 
be obvious! 

The permutations on these questions were as endless as 
they were agonizing. The damage they could do in Germany 
and also in neutral or uncommitted countries would be in- 

But that was only one part of the worry. What if the Brit- 
ish drugged Hess with Pentothal or other specifics that 
would break down the barriers of discipline and reserve, and 
allow them to discover Hitler's innermost secrets and his 
plans to attack Russia? What if Britain had akeady warned 
Russia of his intentions? * 

Hitler worked out a timetable of events so far. Hess had 
left Augsburg at ten minutes past six on Saturday evening. 
The distance to Dungavel House was roughly 850 miles. 
Thus, allowing for a possible head wind and for the extra 
hour added to British summer time, Hess should have reached 
his destination by eleven o'clock that night. By the time 
Pintsch delivered Hess's letter to Hitler on Sunday, more 
than eighteen hours had elapsed since Hess left Germany. 
Yet no word had been received from Britain about his land- 

Surely such an event as the arrival of the Deputy Fiihrer 

could not go entirely unremarked, whether or not the British 
Government had any intention of negotiating with him. Un- 
less he had crashed into the sea, his plane must have flown 

* In fact, on April 3, five weeks before Hess arrived, Churchill had 
warned Stalin that such an attack was possible. Stalin made little use of the 


near such cities as Stirling, Edinburgh, or Glasgow. Had 
he been brought down by fighters or antiaircraft fire? Or 
had he crashed on the way? 

These worries consumed Hitler, for although Hess had 
given him the key to extricate himself from all knowledge of 
the plan if it failed he could simply say that he had gone 
mad this he was understandably loath to say until he was 
quite certain he had no other course left. For one thing, this 
statement was demonstrably not true. And if it were put out, 
then surely many Germans would ask why his madness had 
not been recognized at an earlier stage and how many 
more in high office were similarly afflicted. 

Hitler sought the advice and opinion of those around him. 
Goring, in particular, as head of the Luftwaffe, was placed in 
an awkward situation. 

"Can he make it?" Hitler kept asking him. "Can he get 
there on his own? You're an airman tell me/' 

'It's a fifty-fifty chance," hedged Goring uneasily, using 
the English expression. 

"So! You're speaking English already," retorted Hitler 
angrily. "If Mussolini hears of this, he'll think iVe been try- 
ing to make a separate peace with England." 

Gen. Karl Bodenschatz, who had been Goring's friend 
since the First World War, when they both flew in Richt- 
hofen's famous squadron, noted that "Hitler's consternation 
and surprise were supremely played" * at the news of Hess's 

"If Hess does reach Britain, then it will provide the British 
with an unique propaganda opportunity," said Goring, point- 
ing out to Hitler what he already knew too well. "We must 
issue a communique to come out before they can do any- 
thing with it." 

"But perhaps Hess has come down in the sea as you told 
me you were sure would happen?" replied Hitler. "If that is 
so, then nobody will know/' 

Goring shook his head; a communique should be pre- 

9 Ibid. 

pared. Bodenschatz took down the gist of it from Hitler's 
dictation. Ribbentrop and Goring added amendments. Seven 
different drafts were made and all were destroyed. 

As Bodenschatz and Goring left the Berghof just before 
dawn on Monday, Goring winked sympathetically at his old 

"The Fiihrer has really slipped up, hasn't he?" he said with 
a wry smile. 

Describing the incident afterwards, Goring's biographer 

It was clear to all that Hitler, faithful to his wartime practice 
of discussing top secrets only with the people immediately con- 
cerned, had hatched a plot with Rudolf Hess, his closest as- 
sociate. If Hess could convince Britain that Germany was about 
to attack Russia, peace in the West might, after all, be possible. 
He could bring off the coup which Goring had failed to achieve 
with diplomacy and the Luftwaffe 

Every single surviving member of Goring's entourage . . . [is] 
convinced that Hitler not only hoped to make peace with the 
West, but to persuade the British Government to join in Ger- 
many's attack on Russia. Hitler's bewilderment in Berchtesgaden 
was due to the fear that his plot had failed * 

On that Sunday after Hess's flight, while Pintsch was be- 
ing driven down the mountainside from the Berghof, Goring 
was already on the telephone to Messerschmitt, wanting to 
know how Hess had flown away. He told Messerschmitt that 
he must see him on the following morning in Munich. 

As the airplane designer came into his office, Goring 
pointed his Air Marshal's baton at him and shouted, "As far 
as you're concerned, I suppose anybody can come and fly 
off with one of your machines?" 

Messerschmitt pointed out carefully that Hess was not 
anybody; he was die Stellvertreter, the Deputy Fuhrer. 

"You should have known that this man was crazy," re- 
torted Goring, following the line Hitler had decided to take. 

* Ibid. 


"How could I be expected to suppose that one so high in 
the hierarchy of the Third Reich could be crazy?" replied 
Messerschmitt calmly. "If that were the case, Herr Mar- 
schall, you should have procured his resignation!" 

At this, Goring unexpectedly burst into peals of laughter, 
slapping his thick thighs at the hugeness of the joke. 

"Messerschmitt," he announced, when his mirth subsided, 
"you're quite incurable! Go back to your factory 7 and get on 
with producing your planes. I'll help you out of the mess, 
if the Fiihrer tries to make trouble for you." 

It is significant that neither mentioned the matter of Hess's 
being forbidden to fly, and that Goring treated the whole 
incident with humor. 

Finally, on Monday, around noon, Hitler decided that he 
could wait no longer for the signal from Hess that had still 
not reached him. He ordered Dr. Otto Dietrich, his press 
adviser, to draft a deliberately vague communique that 
would contain references to mental illness Hess's own sug- 
gestion but it was not to be released until Hitler personally 
gave the order. 

Dietrich, fully aware of the pitfalls of such a course, gave 
instructions that all broadcasts from Britain should be 
monitored in the hope that some announcement might be 
given, either in code or clear, about the arrival of the Deputy 
Fiihrer. This might help him considerably in drafting his 
bulletin. (At about the same time, in Glasgow, Livingstone 
was giving identical instructions for all German broadcasts 
to be studied in the hope that they might provide a clue to 
Horn's identity. ) 

Hitler insisted that the statement about Hess must be 
worded sufficiently loosely to allow its retraction or altera- 
tion. After several drafts, Dietrich struck the right note. 
Accordingly, Munich radio broadcast this announcement on 
Monday evening; 

It is officially announced by the National Socialist Party that 
Party Member Rudolf Hess, who, as he was suffering from an 
illness of some years' standing, had been strictly forbidden to 


embark on any further flying activity, was able, contrary to this 
command, again to come into possession of an airplane. 

On Saturday, May 10, Rudolf Hess set out on a flight from 
Augsburg, from which be has not so far returned. A letter which 
he left behind unfortunately shows by its distractedness traces 
of a mental disorder, and it is feared that he was a victim of 

The Fiihrer at once ordered the arrest of the adjutants of Party 
Member Hess, who alone had any cognizance of these flights, 
and did not, contrary to the Fiihrer's orders, of which they were 
fully aware, either prevent or report the flight. 

In these circumstances it must be considered that Party Mem- 
ber Hess either jumped out of his airplane or has met with an 

In Rome, Count Ciano heard this strange and vague an- 
nouncement and was not impressed by it. 

"A strange German communique announces the death of 
Hess in a plane accident/' he wrote in his diary * on that 
day. "I cannot conceal my skepticism of the truth of this 
version. I even doubt whether he is dead at all. There is 
something mysterious about it, even though Alfieri [the 
Italian Ambassador to Germany] confirms the report that it 
was an accident/' 

Hitler also sent Ribbentrop, his Foreign Minister, to 
Rome, as General Franz Haider, Hitler's Chief of Staff until 
1942, noted, f "to inform the Duce of the offer of a separate 

Ciano was still unhappy about the whole episode. On the 
following day he wrote in his diary: 

The Hess affair has a tinge of tabloid news. Hitler's substitute, 
his second-in-command, the man who for fifteen years has had in 
his grasp the most powerful German organization, has made an 
airplane landing in Scotland. He fled, leaving a letter for Hitler. 

In my opinion, it is a very serious matter, the first real victory 
for the English. In the beginning, the Duce believed that Hess 
had been forced to make a landing while he was on his way to 

* Clancys Diplomatic Papers. 
f General Haider's "Diaries." 


Ireland in order to start a revolt, but he very soon abandoned 
this thesis, and he now shares my impression of the exceptional 
importance of this event. 

Von Ribbentrop unexpectedly arrives in Rome. He is discour- 
aged and nervous. He wants to confer with the Duce and me 
for various reasons, but there is only one real reason; he wants 
to inform us about the Hess affair, which is now in the hands 
of the press all over the world. 

The official version is that Hess, sick in body and mind, was a 
victim of his pacifist hallucinations, and went to England in 
the hope of facilitating the beginning of peace negotiations. 
Hence, he is not a traitor; hence he will not talk; hence, what- 
ever is said or printed in his name is false. 

His conversation is a beautiful Job of patching things up. The 
Germans want to cover themselves before Hess speaks and re- 
veals things that might make a great impression in Italy. 

Mussolini comforted von Ribbentrop, but afterwards told me 
that he considers the Hess affair a tremendous blow to the Nazi 
regime. He added that he was glad of it because this will have 
the effect of bringing down German stock, even with the Italians. 

Dinner at home with von Ribbentrop and his associates. The 
tone of the Germans is one of depression. . . . 

Ribbentrop spent only one day in Rome. After he left, 
Ciano wrote: 

Contrary to expectations, the speculation of Anglo-American 
propaganda on the Hess case is quite moderate. The only docu- 
ments that are really harmful are the German dispatches, con- 
fused and reticent. Alfieri writes that confusion in Berlin is at 
its height in all circles 

Then, on the Friday following Hess's arrival in Scotland, 
Ciano noted: 

* . . a lull of expectancy in the Hess case. Even the British press 
mentions a mysterious peace mission, going so far as to imply a 
prearranged agreement between Hitler and Hess. This is in con- 
trast to Ribbentrop's declarations, and also to German agitation, 
which isn't decreasing. . . . 


Use Hess, on the Monday after her husband's departure, 
still knew nothing of the turmoil he had caused. She had not 
altogether believed his half promise that he would be back 
by Monday, but his movements were so erratic and so un- 
predictable that his unexpected departure had not alarmed 
her. She was almost recovered from the indisposition which 
had kept her in bed on the Saturday, and on Monday after- 
noon she decided to give a film show for the staff in what 
the family called her husband's "great working room." 

This working room, generally used for entertaining official 
guests because it was the largest room in the house, had a 
brick fireplace at one end. On the right of the chimneypiece 
hung a huge oil painting of dark forests with green fields 
beyond, a view from the Black Forest over the Rhine look- 
ing towards the French hills. 

This canvas concealed an opening in the wall to a small 
room beyond. The chains that supported the painting passed 
over weighted pulleys; a touch on the frame of this picture 
was sufficient to slide it up the wall and expose an aperture 
a foot square. 

Through this a conversation could be recorded; inside it, 
something of value could be concealed. On this particular 
afternoon, it contained the lens of a film projector. At the 
other end of the room a screen was set up, and, with Ilse 
Hess sitting with her dressing gown wrapped round her, the 
film show began. 

Halfway through it, one of her husband's aides appeared 
in the darkened room searching for her. He was the brother 
of one of Use's closest friends, and so called her by her first 
name. He was blundering about in the dark, falling over 
chairs, peering at faces, repeating her name in a loud whis- 
per: "Ilse! Use!" Finally he found her, and sat down on an 
empty chair by her side. 

"What's wrong?" she asked sharply, rather annoyed at the 
commotion. "What's happened?" 

At the sound of her voice, the operator switched off the 
projector and the sound died in the loudspeaker. One by one, 

lights came on round the room, and Ike saw the familiar 
faces looking around at her, blinking in the sudden unex- 
pected glare. The aide was the youngest on Hess's staff, 
barely out of his teens. 

"Something awful has happened to the Brotherr" * he 
said in a strained voice. 

"What has happened?" asked Ilse. 

"He's dead. He's crashed into the sea in his plane." 

At the words a gasp came from everyone in the room. 
There was a scraping of chairs on the polished wooden floor 
as they stood up, all eyes on Frau Hess, wanting to give her 
what comfort they could, and not knowing what to say, 

"Into the sea?" she repeated incredulously. "What sea? 
Where was he? What was he doing? What happened? Who 
told you this, anyway?" 

The young fellow could only swallow nervously, his mouth 
dry with foreboding. 

"I can't say," he replied. "I've told you all I know. I heard 
something on die radio, just the last few words of some state- 
ment about it." 

Ilse Hess stared at him in amazement and disbelief. Be- 
fore the direct gaze of her blue eyes he flinched and looked 

"You'd better go and put some proper clothes on," he said, 
nodding towards her dressing gown. "People will be coming 
here to see you about this. It won't look well for you to be 
questioned like this." 

"Questioned? By whom? Why should I be questioned? 
And what about?" 

No one replied. Her mind was a turmoil of confused 
thoughts, but one took precedence. If her husband, the 
Fiihrer's Deputy, had met with such an accident, then surely 
Hitler must know more about it. 

Since she and her husband had known him intimately 

* Brotherr means literally the ""bread man" or the breadwinner. It is also 
a familiar way of referring to the head of a family or a business, a warmer, 
friendlier equivalent of "boss.*' 


from liis earliest days as a political figure, it seemed odd that 
he hadn't already been in touch with her about this acci- 
dent. The thought jarred, but then she immediately dis- 
missed it. After all, Hitler was so enormously busy, directing 
the course of the war, that he probably hadn't been able to 
spare time to do so. Perhaps he didn't even know about it 

"I must speak to the Fiihrer immediately," she said. 
"Please put me through by telephone. He's at Berchtes- 

"That's impossible," said the aide with a sudden sharp- 

"Don't talk rubbish/' Use retorted. "Ill get the number 

The others stood aside to let her out of the room. As soon 
as the door closed behind her, she heard their buzz of ex- 
cited conversation and conjecture. 

She walked into her husband's study, carefully closed the 
door behind her, and sat down at his desk. Only then, as she 
waited for her telephone call to Berchtesgaden the only 
call she ever made on "State Priority," the top priority in 
wartime Germany did she begin to feel any personal re- 
action from the news. 

Could it be that Rudolf really was dead? Or was some- 
thing far worse, far more dangerous, being concealed from 
her? Her whole world so pleasant, so secure, until that 
Saturday barely forty-eight hours ago seemed suddenly to 
be crumbling and about to disintegrate around her. She felt 
almost physically ill with foreboding. 

The telephone bell interrupted her thoughts; she picked 
up the instrument and gave her name to the operator in the 

She expected that this would be sufficient for her to be 
put through to Hitler immediately, but it was not. She was 
told that she could not speak to him; he was engaged and on 
no account was to be disturbed. Would she care to speak to 
anyone else? 


With some reluctance she asked to speak to Martin Bor- 
mann. Although no friend of hers, or of her husband, 
Bormann was her husband's deputy. If anyone knew what 
had happened or what was happening, he should be the 

Bormann was, of course, well aware of the political ground 
he had been gaining over his superior in recent months, and 
his reaction to Hess's flight was that of a political oppor- 
tunist. Bormann thought it unlikely that Churchill would 
agree to peace with Germany. Bormann therefore calculated 
that, provided Hess had not disappeared on his journey, he 
would shortly have to be discredited by Hitler in a monu- 
mental way. Only this would silence German speculation 
as to his motives and authority. 

As Hess's chief assistant, Bormann saw this as an unex- 
pected and unprecedented chance to improve his own posi- 
tion. Caution warred with his fierce ambition. He reasoned 
that while the odds of Hess's failing in his mission were 
overwhelming, there still remained a slender chance that it 
might succeed. His prudence and his highly developed sense 
of political survival restrained him from any precipitate act 
until Monday, when Hitler decided that he could wait no 
longer before acknowledging that Hess was missing. 

Bormann shrewdly calculated that the Fiilirer would not 
do this without good reason. Very possibly the time limit 
for Hess to send his message was long past. By the time Use 
reached Bormann, he had already decided on a plan of dis- 
crediting Hess through his wife. 

Martin Bormann and Use Hess had several reasons for not 
being on good terms. For one tiling, she distrusted him and 
felt (quite correctly) that he was anxious to oust her hus- 
band to take his job himself. 

Also, she had once advised his younger brother Albert to 
go against Martin's wishes. Albert had wanted to marry one 
of Ilse's friends, the daughter of a Bremen physician who 
had been on Hess's personal staff before the war. Martin 
did not like the girl, but Ilse encouraged the marriage. For 


this, Martin Bormann never forgave her; they had not talked 
to each other for some months after the wedding. Indeed, 
this telephone conversation was the first time they had 
spoken to each other for more than a year. It was also the 
last until nearly the end of the war when Bormann, seeing 
the inevitability of defeat ahead, and anxious for any friendly 
spirit, suddenly telephoned the woman he had deliberately 
humiliated and asked if she could help him in his hour of 

"I know nothing, Frau Hess," Bormann told her now, de- 
termined not to be helpful. "You'll have to wait until we can 
get some further news. In the meantime, I am sending my 
assistant, Dr. Hansen, to see you. I want you to cooperate 
with him. Goodbye." 

The line went dead. As Ilse replaced the receiver, she saw 
the young aide standing on the other side of the desk. He 
had come into the room so silently that she was unaware 
of his entry. 

"How do you know my husband is dead?" she asked him. 
"Who says so?" 

"It was on the wireless. I told you," he explained. 

"Nonsense," retorted Frau Hess with spirit. 

"Not for one second did I believe anything really tragic 
had happened," she wrote later. "In moments of extreme 
tension there comes to us, from regions outside the fields of 
reason, a knowledge that will not let us be deceived." * 

She walked back to the working room. Her staff was still 
there, talking in undertones, little groups of people clus- 
tered together, wondering fearfully what the future held for 
them. No one had any interest in continuing with the film 
show. The screen was rolled up and put away, the projector 
dismantled, the painting of the Black Forest lowered over 
the hole in the wall. 

Ilse telephoned her husband's brother in Berlin. This was 
the brother whose first name Hess had used when he called 
himself Alfred Horn. Alfred Hess was equally mystified at 

* Prisoner of Peace, 

the pronouncement of Rudolf's death. He also thought it 
unlikely to be true. 

Use Hess sat and waited for Dr. Hansen to arrive. There 
was nothing else to do, no one else to telephone. Hansen 
was a senior Nazi party official, and did not arrive until 
after midnight, a cold-faced, correct man, hoping des- 
perately beneath his bland appearance that he was not going 
to be personally implicated. 

Frau Hess now discovered with some surprise that instead 
of being able to help her with information, Hansen wanted 
her to help him. He appeared incapable of accepting her as- 
surance that she knew nothing about her husband's disap- 
pearance except the fact that he had said goodbye to her on 
Saturday afternoon and gone off with his adjutant to Augs- 
burg, wearing a pair of flying trousers and flying boots. She 
pointed out to Dr. Hansen that surely all members of her 
husband's staff of whom he was one knew their chief well 
enough to be quite sure that he would never discuss state 
secrets with his wife. 

She wrote later: 

The term "state secrets" produced a powerful reaction. Up to 
this point the emissary had been somewhat confused, but, if a 
little pale, he remained polite and not unfriendly; but now he 
turned to me and informed me that if a single word of what I 
(supposedly) knew should leak out I would be arrested. He then 
turned on his heel and left the room.* 

Clearly, Hansen's intention had been to discover whether 
Frau Hess knew that Hitler was implicated. There was just a 
faint chance that Hess might have been unwise enough to 
tell his wife. 

On Tuesday morning, Prof. Earl Haushofer came to see 
Use Hess. He well knew the reason that lay behind her hus- 
band's flight, for he had taken an active part in the earlier 
attempts to make contact with the British. 

"Since these feelers were without a doubt extended with 

* Ibid. 


the knowledge of Hitler," Fran Hess noted, "Haushofer 
contrary to my own conviction persisted in the view, right 
up to the day of the trials in Nurnberg when his evidence 
was taken, that Hitler had 'despatched' my husband, or as 
he maliciously put it 'sacrificed him.' " * 

After Haushofer left Use Hess, she felt exhausted by frus- 
tration and doubt. She took her little son in her arms and, 
overcome by weariness, fell asleep in an armchair, holding 
him closely. 

Suddenly she was shaken awake by an excited secretary. 
There was news of the Brotherr. They had just heard a 
news flash on Munich radio that had first been broadcast 
by the B.B.C. 

Her husband was alive and had landed in Scotland. 

* Colonel Otto Skorzeny, who rescued Mussolini from captivity on Hitler's 
orders after Italy sued for peace on September 8, 1943, noted that the at- 
tempt would be disowned by Hitler if It was unsuccessful, in the same way 
that Hitler disowned Hess when his mission failed. (Serial of his life, in 
The Daily Express, London, April 15, 1952.) 



In Buchanan Castle, Hess, very much alive, was pouring out 
his pkns to Ivone Kirkpatrick and the Duke of Hamilton, 

After Kirkpatrick had answered the telephone call from 
the Foreign Secretary and had assured him of Hess's iden- 
tity, he climbed up the long flights of stairs to the attic once 
more. He found that the Duke of Hamilton, exhausted after 
the journey and Hess's long, fruitless diatribe, was nearly 
asleep. Hess, having slept for two hours or more, was fresh 
and anxious to continue. But he had so much to say that by 
three o'clock on Tuesday morning he had still not reached 
the point of importance: Why had he arrived uninvited, as 
an envoy on his own, in this strange, dramatic manner? 

Kirkpatrick, knowing the type of man with whom he was 
dealing, held up his hand to stop this Niagara of repetition, 
and insisted that before Hess went any further, he should 
explain why he had come to Britain and what he hoped to 
do now that he had arrived. Hess replied that he had come 
personally to try to convince Mr. Churchill and the Govern- 
ment that Britain had no hope of winning the war. In these 


circumstances it would be only common sense to negotiate 

The British army, Hess said, had been expelled from 
Europe almost exactly a year before, and lacked the strength 
to return there. German bombing raids on Britain would 
increase in frequency and severity, and gradually, with more 
food convoys being sunk, Britain wculd be starved first out 
of resistance, then possibly even out of existence. Finally, 
the British Government would be forced to make peace if 
only because they could not continue to make war. 

This future, as Hess described it, was indeed bleak, with 
little hope or light to relieve the gloom. He paused to let the 
gravity of his words sink in; his listeners preserved calm 

"Is Hitler going to invade Britain?" Kirkpatrick asked him. 

Hess "looked rather sheepish, and said he really did not 
know." * 

He felt that it was more likely that Britain would grad- 
ually be isolated from her allies and driven to a position of 
desperation and despair. 

Kirkpatrick wrote later: 

He could claim to be in the Fiihrer's closest confidence. He 
was therefore in a position to speak with complete authority, and 
he could assure me that the Fiihrer, who had always entertained 
a high regard for Britain and its Empire, would be prepared to 
conclude a magnanimous peace on the following terms: German 
hegemony on the continent of Europe and the return of the 
former German colonies; British hegemony in the overseas Em- 
pire, which would remain intact and be guaranteed by Ger- 
many, f 

Of course, Hitler could not attempt any negotiations with 
Mr. Churchill, and so some other Prime Minister should be 
appointed with whom Hitler felt he could begin talks. In 
the meantime, Hess asked for a certain German prisoner of 
war to be released, so that this man could act as his personal 

* The Inner Circle, 


secretary and aide during what lie optimistically called "the 
forthcoming peace conference." 

It was four o'clock in the morning when Hess finished 
speaking. Pale streaks of dawn were already in the sky. 
Weary, stiff, cramped, and cold, the Duke of Hamilton and 
Mr. Kirkpatrick took their leave of him and climbed down 
the stone stairs. 

A night sister for Hess was still under medical super- 
vision made them some scrambled eggs, which they ate 
gratefully. It was six o'clock before they were back at Turn- 
house airfield. Hess by then was fast asleep again. At half- 
past eight, Kirkpatrick telephoned the Foreign Office and 
gave a brief account of the discussion. 

"I was told that the Government was embarrassed by the 
whole affair, and did not know exactly how to handle it," he 
noted later.* 

In the meantime they said that they would be grateful for 
any details about the prisoner's appearance, what he was 
eating, how he looked, and so forth. This would help to 
satisfy the insistent curiosity of the newspapers. Kirkpatrick 
dictated a full report of his interview, and this was flown to 
London by special plane. 

He had received no reply by the following morning, and 
so decided to accompany the Duke of Hamilton on a brief 
visit to H.M.S. Victorious, an aircraft carrier which had only 
recently been commissioned. 

As he reached the ferry across the Firth of Forth, a mes- 
senger raced up to him, bearing a further communication 
from the Foreign Secretary: he was to continue his inter- 
views with Hess. Kirkpatrick decided to telephone the For- 
eign Office and ask for more specific directions. 

The Air Marshal in local command, anxious to be helpful, 
explained that he had just had a new scrambled telephone 
installed in his office. On this it would be simple for Kirk- 
patrick to speak with safety and confidence, for no one else 
could possibly listen in or tap the line. 


This was quite true. As soon as he picked up the tele- 
phone, it gave vent to such a mass of wailings and cracklings 
that it was impossible to hear the speaker's voice. Finally, 
he abandoned attempts to use the scrambler, and got through 
to London en clair. 

Kirkpatrick asked the Foreign Office what he should talk 
to Hess about. He had carried out all his instructions and 
felt sure that Hess had told him all he had to say. The reply 
was diplomatic. "What you choose to discuss must be left 
to your own discretion/' he was told. 

Kirkpatrick therefore returned to Buchanan Castle, and 
without great enthusiasm climbed once more up the long 
stone flight of stairs to the attic. Hess was pleased to see him 
but obviously depressed and disappointed by the fact that 
nothing had been done at once about his proposal. 

He had expected instant action. For this reason, and a 
rather naive belief that he would be back in Germany within 
a matter of hours, he had brought no clothes apart from what 
he wore, and no toilet articles, not even a toothbrush. He 
pointed out rather petulantly that peace was "very serious,** 
and "Hitler is not a man with w r hom it is safe to toy." 

On a more personal level, Hess admitted that he was not 
at all pleased with the arrangements to accommodate him. 
After all, he was a Minister of the Reich, the Deputy Fiihrer, 
and yet soldiers on guard outside his room wore hobnailed 
boots and stamped about in a way he felt sure had been or- 
dered simply to annoy him. 

For another thing, he considered that the electric light in 
his room was too bright; it hurt his eyes. And when a doctor 
had asked him to lie on a sofa so that he could be examined 
thoroughly in case he had injured himself elsewhere, in ad- 
dition to his ankle when making his parachute jump, Hess 
had been horrified to see that a fresh sheet had not been 
spread out beneath him. He pointed out that he felt it was 
quite likely for him to have contracted some skin disease 
from this sofa, which must have been used by many other 


Rudolf Hess's obsession with his health was no new tiling. 
For years, the Deputy Fiihrer had refused to eat any fruit 
or vegetables that had been fertilized with artificial manure. 
He did not eat eggs or any dried food, because he did not 
consider them "pure." 

Dr, Felix Kersten, the Finnish physiotherapist who had 
exercised tremendous influence over Himmler, first treated 
Hess at Himmler's request in the previous summer. Once, 
Dr. Kersten found him in bed under a huge magnet swing- 
ing above him from the ceiling. "There are twelve equally 
large magnets under my bed," Hess explained. Apparently, a 
man from Liibeck had assured him that these would draw 
harmful substances out of his body and restore his strength; 
Hess believed him. 

Knowing his idiosyncrasies, Kirkpatrick listened to his 
complaints and then, on instructions, paid Hess a third visit. 
During this discussion he asked him for his views on the 
German-Russian pact. Was there any remote possibility that 
Hitler might suddenly decide to attack Russia? 

Hess replied that it was quite out of the question. I pressed 
him again and again, but he assured me that Hitler was a man 
who stuck scrupulously to his engagements. I got the impression 
that Hess was so much out of things that he really did not know.* 

La fact, he did know. He was aware of the plan and disap- 
proved of it, according to his adjutant, because such an at- 
tack involved fighting on two fronts against which Hitler 
had fulminated in Mein Kampf in addition to enormous 
lines of communications. Either of these military circum- 
stances \vas dangerous, as any old soldier knows. Hess 
thought that together they could be catastrophic, as indeed 
events proved. 

Preparations for Barbarossa, Hitler's attack on Russia, had 
been going on for five months since December 18, 1940 
by the time Hess arrived in Scotland. On that December 



day, Hitler had issued a directive explaining how Russia 
would be invaded. 

The core of his argument was that he could crush Russia 
in "a quick campaign" before the end of the war against 
Britain. He felt that Britain must have come to some secret 
arrangement to receive aid from Russia, for otherwise by 
all the rules of war and logic, she should have surrendered 
long ago. By attacking Russia, Hitler also hoped to capture 
raw materials for which he was otherwise forced to pay un- 
der the German-Soviet agreement. 

A month before this directive was issued, Ribbentrop in- 
vited Molotov to Berlin, possibly to lull Soviet suspicion re- 
garding a German attack, or maybe to try to divert Russian 
influence and interest from Europe towards India and Persia, 
where they could be more harmful to Britain. In the mean- 
time, Hitler's forces in eastern Germany had nearly tripled. 
In December, 1940, he maintained thirty-four divisions 
there; by the time Hess landed in Scotland in May, the total 
had swollen to eighty-seven. 

But during his stay in Buchanan Castle, Hess preferred to 
discuss less weighty matters with Ivone Kirkpatrick. He re- 
turned to his complaints. He had no German books to read. 
He did not like the officer in charge of his guard. He was 
sure poison was being put into his food. 

While Kirkpatrick daily interviewed Hess, the authorities 
in London had been giving some thought to permanent ar- 
rangements for their prisoner. 

It was considered by no means beyond possibility that 
Hitler would attempt to rescue Hess from Buchanan Castle 
as he rescued Mussolini when he was a prisoner later in 
the war and although a whole battalion of soldiers had 
taken up their positions around the castle against just such a 
contingency, it would obviously be much safer to move 
Hess. Temporarily, it was decided, he should be housed in 
the Tower of London. 

A colony of newspaper reporters and photographers was 
ensconced at the Buchanan Arms Hotel opposite the main 

entrance of the castle. To put them off the scent, Hess was 
driven In an ambulance through a back way and to a railway 
siding outside Glasgow. The London express stopped for a 
few moments while an extra carriage was hooked on. 

CoL Gibson Graham, who was in charge of the medical 
division at the hospital, and so had charge of Hess, traveled 
with him. Guards were posted in the black-out corridor of 
the train, facing inwards towards the compartment. 

"Must I have these men staring at me?" Hess asked ir- 
ritably. "I can't sleep a wink under all these eyes." 

"I'm sorry," replied Graham mildly, "but you will have 
Hess grunted. "Ill remember this after the war," he said. 

Despite the conditions of secrecy, word had somehow 
sped ahead to Euston; a crowd of sightseers had gathered to 
jeer Hess. He accepted their greetings with a smile and 
raised his right arm in a half salute. 

He was driven from Euston in an ambulance, with a 
second vehicle following full of armed soldiers. 

Hess did not know where he was, but he soon found out, 
A young officer on guard duty, anxious to secure his auto- 
graph, rather diffidently asked Hess whether he would give 
him his signature. 

"Certainly," replied Hess, to the young man's surprise. 
"But you must let me have a sheet of paper to write it on." 

Much delighted at this, the officer produced the only 
paper he could find easily a sheet of notepaper marked 
"The Tower of London." He handed this to Hess with the 
heading on the under side of the paper. Hess took it, and 
turned it over. 

"So that's where I am," he said with a smile, and handed it 
back unsigned. In fact, Hess was in the room occupied by Sir 
Roger Casement before his execution in 1916. 

Churchill was fully aware of the speculation that Hess's 
arrival was causing in the United States, and so sent a long 
telegram to Roosevelt about the matter: * 

* The Second World War, vol. 3, The Grand Alliance. 


Foreign Office representative has had three interviews with 

At first interview, on night of May 11-12, Hess was extremely 
voluble, and made long statement with the aid of notes. First 
part recapitulated Anglo-German relations during past thirty 
years or so, and was designed to show that Germany had always 
been in the right and England in the wrong. Second part em- 
phasised certainty of German victory, due to development in 
combination of submarine and air weapons, steadiness of Ger- 
man morale, and complete unity of German people behind 
Ilider. Third part outlined proposals for settlement. Hess said that 
the Fiihrer had never entertained anv designs against the British 

J O ^ 

Empire, which would be left intact save for the return of former 
German colonies, in exchange for a free hand for him in Europe. 
But condition was attached that Hitler would not negotiate with 
present Government in England. This is the old invitation to us 
to desert all our friends in order to save temporarily the greater 
part of our skin. 

Foreign QlSce representative asked him whether when he 
spoke of Hitler having a free hand in Europe he included Russia 
in Europe or in Asia. He replied, "In Asia/' He addsd, however, 
that Germany had certain demands to make of Russia which 
would have to be satisfied, but denied rumours that attack on 
Russia was being planned. 

Impression created by Hess was that he had made up his mind 
that Germany must win the war, but saw that it would last a 
long time and involve much loss of life and destruction. He 
seemed to feel that if he could persuade people in this country 
that there was a basis for a settlement, that might bring the war 
to an end and avert unnecessary suffering. 

At second interview, on May 14, Hess made two further points: 

1. In any peace settlement Germany would have to support 
Rashid Ali and secure eviction of British from Iraq. 

2. U-boat war with air co-operation would be carried on till 
all supplies to these islands were cut off. Even if these islands 
capitulated and the Empire continued to fight, the blockade 
of Britain would continue, even if that meant that the last 
inhabitant of Britain died of starvation. 

At third interview, on May 15, nothing much emerged save 


incidentally some rather disparaging remarks about your country 
and the degree of assistance that you will be able to furnish to 
us. I am afraid, in particular, he is not sufficiently impressed by 
what he thinks he knows of your aircraft types and production. 

Hess seems in good health and not excited, and no ordinary 
signs of insanity can be detected. He declares that this escapade 
is his own idea and that Hitler was unaware of it beforehand. 
If he is to be believed, he expected to contact members of a 
"peace movement" in England, which he would help to oust the 
present Government. If he is honest and if he is sane this is an 
encouraging sign of ineptitude of German Intelligence Service. 
He will not be ill-treated, but it is desirable that the press should 
not romanticise him and his adventure. We must not forget that 
he shares responsibility for all Hitler's crimes and is a potential 
war criminal whose fate must ultimately depend upon the de- 
cision of the Allied Governments. 

Mr. President, all the above is for your own information. Here 
we think it best to let the press have a good run for a bit and 
keep the Germans guessing. The German officer prisoners of war 
here were greatly perturbed by the news, and I cannot doubt that 
there will be deep misgivings in the German armed forces about 
what he may say. 

Meanwhile, Churchill had given directions for the treat- 
ment of Hess. He addressed a memorandum on this subject 
to Mr. Eden on the Tuesday after he arrived. 


On the whole it will be more convenient to treat him [Herr 
Hess] as a prisoner of war, under the War Office and not the 
Home Office; but also as one against whom grave political 
charges may be preferred. This man, like other Nazi leaders, 
is potentially a war criminal, and he and his confederates may 
well be declared outlaws at the close of the war. In this case 
his repentance would stand him in good stead. 

2. In the meanwhile he should be strictly isolated in a con- 
venient house not too far from London, and every endeavour 
should be made to study his mentality and get anything worth 
while out of him. 

3. His health and comfort should be ensured, food, books, 
writing materials, and recreation being provided for him. He 

should not have any contacts with the outer world or visitors 
except as prescribed by the Foreign Office. Special guardians 
should be appointed. He should see no newspapers and hear 
no wireless. He should be treated with dignity, as if he were 
an important general who had fallen into our hands.* 

From the Tower, therefore, Hess was moved to Mytehett 
Place near Faniborough. Two detachments, one of Cold- 
stream Guards, and the other of Scots Guards, were detailed 
to look after him under the command of Lt Colonel A. Mal- 
colm Scott, of the Scots Guards. 

Mytehett Place was next door to Southern Command 
Headquarters. Colonel Scott had barely three days to make 
the place impervious to any attack by digging trenches., 
fixing trip wires, setting up camouflaged machine-gun posts, 
even making tunnels from one part of the ground to another. 
In this time concealed microphones were also installed up 
the chimney and under floorboards, in case Hess should give 
away any German secrets during conversation, or when talk- 
ing in his sleep. So much had to be done so quickly that the 
last civilian workman left only a quarter of an hour before 
the ambulance arrived with Hess inside, followed by an 
escort of two cars. 

Later, a young officer, Douglas PercivaL, joined the de- 

Hess and Percival got on well together. Both were tall men, 
keen on outdoor sports and especially mountaineering. 

"When Germany has won the war I'll give you a castle in 
Scotland," Hess announced magnanimously one day. "Is 
there any place you'd like?" 

"What about Balmoral?" suggested Percival jokingly. 

Hess agreed that this was a good idea. 

The next day, when the security officers heard the record 
of this conversation, they took Percival to one side and 
warned him against such jokes. 

"You mustn't say that sort of thing, Douglas," they said 
seriously. "Someone may think you mean it!" 

* Ibid. 


Officially Mytchett Place was "Z* Camp, and Hess was 
referred to as "J" or J a 7- Unofficially, he speedily became 
known as "The Squire of Mytchett Green." 

His airplane followed him south. It went on exhibition in 
Trafalgar Square to help to raise War Savings Certificates,, 
was later removed to the Imperial War Museum. 

Kirkpatrick also came to London although he traveled a 
day after Hess, to help give the impression that Hess was 
still in Buchanan Castle. Kirkpatrick saw Churchill and 
Eden, and to both of them he gave a full personal report of 
Ms interviews. 

At the end of his account, Churchill remarked drily, 
'Well, if Hess had come a year ago and told us what the 
Germans would do to us, we should have been very fright- 
ened and rightly. So why should we be frightened now?" 

Kirkpatrick suggested that perhaps Hess might give away 
more valuable information if he was interviewed by someone 
more competent to deal with problems of intelligence or 
briefed on political matters. 

"Mr. Churchill did not relish this advice," he wrote later, 
"since it involved a meeting with Hess, which might prove 
embarrassing." * 

Churchill was already privately perturbed lest the public 
in Britain and uncommitted countries might feel that he 
was considering peace terms with Hess. 

Speculation in British newspapers had already ranged 
from allegations that Hess was a schizophrenic to theories 
that he was fleeing Germany because he felt convinced 
Hitler would lose the war, and to other suggestions much 
nearer the mark, that he had come to negotiate a peace. 

At that time in Britain, despite what may now be said to 
the contrary, such a suggestion would have found considera- 
ble favor in many parts of the country. After twenty months 
of war, Britain had been humiliated in France, in Greece, 
and in North Africa. Many of her greatest and proudest 
cities, her most ancient buildings, were blackened smoking 

* The Inner Circle. 

shells, with summer weeds already sprouting in the ruins. 

On that Saturday night, when Hess had been flying north, 
more than nine hundred tons of German bombs had rained 
on London alone within twelve hours. In that single night 
only one of many 1,500 Londoners died, roughly as many 
as had perished in the terrible San Francisco earthquake in 
1906. This was the measure of pain being endured night 
after night in city, town, and hamlet. 

In addition to such tremendous physical attack and the 
complete disruption of so many lives, other factors were in- 
volved. Food was short and severely rationed. Motorists 
were allowed five gallons of poor-quality petrol every month. 
Clothes were on coupons. A fresh egg once a week was a 
treat, and a shillingsworth of meat was held sufficient for 
seven days of dining. 

Night after night, thousands crept down to damp air-raid 
shelters in their back gardens, to cellars strengthened by 
railway sleepers, to London underground stations with tiers 
of bunks. Others cycled to the country, to sleep rough in the 
open fields rather than endure the horrors of still further 

Worse, the U-boats were causing fearful losses among the 
convoys of supply ships coming from the United States; 
2>3 M 3 ooo tons of shipping were sunk between April 10, 
1940, and March 17, 1941. In the three months of March, 
April, and May 179 ships, totaling 545,000 tons, were lost 
Against the background of these depressing figures, Hess's 
claim that Britain could be starved out of further resistance 
was not impossible. 

Many people, knowing little of these facts, but sensing the 
weight of opposition against Britain, thought privately that 
peace on any terms that did not offer actual humiliation was 
preferable to taking the brunt of the ferocious German as- 
saults that would presumably grow worse. In the dominions 
and colonies, the state of preparedness was wretched. The 
defeats at Hong Kong, at Singapore, at Rangoon, were still 


Only a handful of people in the Cabinet really knew the 
extent and weight of arms against Britain. They found little 
comfort in their knowledge, and as Churchill said, those who 
knew most, feared most. 

Nor was it forgotten that the United States, while declar- 
ing herself to be the arsenal of democracy, took care to see 
that the weapons this arsenal produced were not all sold 
to Britain at cut prices. And with British firms working al- 
most wholly on guns and tanks and aircraft, the United States 
was winning markets in territories that for generations had 
bought British goods. These markets she would never en- 
tirely surrender. Meanwhile, Britain's overseas investments 
railways, factories, and traction systems built up over many 
years by British enterprise and energy were being sold for 
little more than a month's supply of food. For how long could 
all this go on? For how long could the people endure the 
nagging hopelessness of this gray twilit life? 

If, against this picture of nightly raids and frayed nerves 
and poor food, rumor could hint that peace with Germany 
was offered by Hitler's Deputy, who felt so sincerely about 
the matter that he had personally flown to Britain to explain 
his terms, a substantial number of people would clamor to 
pursue this matter further. 

Thus if it became at all widely believed that Hess had 
arrived with power and authority to negotiate a genuine 
settlement, this news would run through Britain like flame 
through dry heather. Inevitably, the speed of the factories 
would slow. The spirit of aggression would swiftly diminish. 
For what would be the point of waging war if peace could 
so easily be obtained? In these circumstances, it would be 
difficult, if not impossible, for Churchill to restore the na- 
tional sense of urgency even after this rumor proved false. 

Although the Government might claim that Hess had ar- 
rived with no power whatsoever, and although he could also 
be discredited by his own country, the belief would still per- 
sist that "there must have been something in it." It would 
seem an act of incredible folly to fight on against an adver- 


sary so overwhelmingly strong, when the enemy itself was 
willing for peace. 

Churchill was well aware of these problems. If rumors of 
peace talks began, they would spread and multiply with an 
amoebalike rapidity. Hess had to be quickly discredited in 
such a way that his visit would appear to be nonsense, the 
act of an unbalanced man, made on his own initiative and 
without authority. 

Once he had been discredited in the public mind, nothing 
he claimed would be given serious attention. The newspaper 
headline writers and cartoonists, and the comics in music 
halls and on the air, would soon see to that. 

Hess was thus placed in the care of psychiatrists. Coining 
so soon after Hitler's own claim that ce he lived in a state of 
hallucination," this discredited him completely in the public 
mind. He was dismissed by the many, if not by the few, as 
being a madman, a lunatic. 

Meanwhile, knowing nothing of all this, for not until Hess 
had been in British hands for some months did he realize 
that the officers around him were psychiatrists he had been 
told that they were "camp doctors" sent to replace Colonel 
Graham, who had returned to Drymen Hess persisted in 
his request to see a Cabinet representative. Mr. Churchill 
asked Sir John Simon (later Lord Simon) the Lord Chancel- 
lor, to interview him. The hope was that Hess might be in- 
duced to reveal secrets of Hitler's own intentions which could 
prove of value. 

It was imperative that no one should know that a British 
Minister had seen Hess on behalf of the War Cabinet. Such 
news could cause immeasurable damage if made public 
either in Britain or elsewhere, for the inference would im- 
mediately be that Britain, after much proud talk of fighting 
on to complete victory, was in fact preparing to conduct 
secret peace negotiations. This would be a blow to the entire 
war effort and to the country's prestige, from which neither 
might fully recover. 


In view of this, it was decided that Hess would be referred 
to throughout all arrangements for the meeting as Jay; Ivone 
Kirkpatrick would be a distinguished psychiatrist, "Dr. Mc- 
Kenzie," and Sir John Simon would be another psychiatrist 
of equal note, "Dr. Guthrie." 

Two British intelligence officers who spoke fluent German 
were detailed to receive them at Mytchett Place, and they 
alone would know their real identity. No one else would be 
in the secret not even the concealed stenographers who 
would record their conversation. 

For a few days beforehand, Hess, knowing the date of the 
meeting and aware what could emerge if it should be, from 
his point of view, successful, had been growing more and 
more nervous. 

Finally, he declared that he found it almost impossible 
to eat anything, and so meals were served in his room, and 
the officer of the guard ate with him. This served the dual 
purpose of proving that the food was not tampered with in 
any way, and also provided him with a companion. 

In the morning of his interview with the Lord Chancellor, 
Hess ^did not eat anything, but he drank a considerable 
amount of milk. Then he put on his Air Force uniform and 
appeared, so his doctors noted, "in a very confident and al- 
most arrogant mood." * 

There was good reason for his arrogance. He considered 
that he was the most significant man in either Britain or Ger- 
many. He believed that he was one of the few who knew 
about Hitler's plan for attacking Russia due to begin in 
twelve days. He did not realize, of course, that Britain was 
also well aware of this plan, and that Churchill had already 
warned Stalin to expect such an attack. That Stalin took no 
useful heed of this warning did not detract from its value 
or its accuracy. 

That morning, Kirkpatrick set off from London and drove 
down through Staines and Virginia Water to Sunningdale 

* The Case of Rudolf Hess. 

where he was joined by the Lord Chancellor. No one fol- 
lowed them, and the roads at such a time of strict petrol 
rationing were almost deserted apart from service trucks 
and dispatch riders. 

They drove on in silence through Aldershot to Mytchett 
Place. The guards had been instructed to expect two psychi- 
atrists, and papers were produced to show that Dr. Mc- 
Kenzie and Dr. Guthrie were the gentlemen concerned. After 
due examination they were allowed in without question or 

Hess had asked to have a German witness present at this 
meeting, so some minor consular official, interned at the out- 
break of war, was brought under guard to Mytchett Place 
to comply with this request. 

The published account of his talk with Sir John Simon and 
Mr. Kirkpatrick at Camp Z first given in his defense on 
March 25, 1946, at Niirnberg reveals that Hess told Sir John 
Simon how the idea of flying to Britain had first occurred 
to him when he was with Hitler during the French campaign 
of 1940. 

In a conversation with Hitler, he had expressed the opinion 
that Germany must "demand from England the restitution 
of goods such as the value of the merchant fleet, and so on, 
which were taken from us by the Versailles Treaty." The 
Fiihrer had contradicted him immediately, saying that "one 
should not impose any severe conditions on a country with 
which it is desired to come to an agreement/ 7 Hess concluded 
that if England could be made aware of this fact, the Gov- 
ernment might be willing to come to an agreement, 

He explained the Fiihrer's U-boat and air attacks on 
Britain by telling Sir John Simon, "When the Fiihrer had 
come to the conclusion that common sense could not prevail 
in England, he acted just according to the rule of conduct of 
Admiral Lord Fisher: 'Moderation in war is folly. If you 
strike, strike hard and wherever you can/ But I can confirm 
that it was indeed always difficult for the Fiihrer to give 


orders for these attacks. It pained him deeply. He was con- 
stantly in full sympathy with the English people who were 
victims of this method of waging war/' 

As to his own thoughts of making the flight, he said, "I 
must confess that I faced a very critical decision the most 
critical decision of my life/' 

He told Sir John Simon, "My flight was strongly influenced 
by the fact that the leaders of Germany are absolutely con- 
vinced that England's position is helpless. In view of my 
personal relations with the flying world Messerschmitt is 
a friend of mine, and I know all the factories and all the 
air chiefs I have some idea of what will happen to England 
sooner or later. And that is one of the reasons why I have 
come here." 

"Your message is that you believe there will be in future 
a far more violent and terrific overwhelming attack on this 
country?" asked Sir John Simon. 

"Yes/' replied Hess, and he went on to give a gloomy ac- 
count of the Germans' development and building of the 

"Nothing amuses the British people as much as German 
figures about sinking British tonnage," Simon told him. "It 
makes them laugh." 

"Maybe," said Hess, "but I am convinced the day will 
come when the English people will no longer laugh about 

"The day may come, the day may come/' agreed Simon 
noncommittally, "but if German official figures are correct, 
you know, it's a pity we are not all dead!" 

If Germany managed to make Britain capitulate simply 
because food could not be brought into the island, Hess said, 
"we would not consider occupying the mother country be- 
cause we would have to feed the people there. In the event 
of a capitulation without occupation, we should only occupy 
a number of important air bases in the most extreme case, 
and we would shut them off from the population so that 
our own soldiers would never see anything of it." 


"Do you come here with the Fizhrer's knowledge or with- 
out his knowledge?" asked Lord Simon, breaking into this 
gloomy prophecy. 

"Without his knowledge," replied Hess. "Absolutely." 

He laughed as he spoke this answer, and then he handed 
to his interviewers a sheet of paper which was headed "Basis 
for Understanding." 

"This which I have written down here is what the Fiihrer 
told me in several conversations/' he explained in rather 
stilted English. 

The paper contained the familiar proposals that Germany 
should have a free hand in Europe and Britain in the Em- 
pire. There would be armistice and peace with Italy. Britain 
would leave Iraq and return the German colonies. 

As the interview, which lasted for roughly three hours, 
came to its end, Hess assured his visitors that if Britain did 
not agree to these conditions, then "sooner or later the day 
will come when you will be forced to accede to them." 

"I do not think that that particular argument will be very 
good for the British Cabinet," Simon told him, gathering up 
his papers. "You know, there is a great deal of courage in 
this country, and we are not very fond of threats." 

After this discussion the doctors found Hess in his sitting 
room virtually collapsed. Three hours of question and answer 
with two interrogators as shrewd as Kirkpatrick and Simon 
had worn him out. Worse, he was beginning to realize that 
his belief that he could make peace between Britain and 
Germany was entirely false. 

To try to restore his energy, a psychiatrist ordered tea, 
milk and cake for him, but Hess refused to touch any of 
them. The psychiatrist then mixed him a glucose drink and 
offered it to him. Hess looked at the doctor quizzically and 
then said grudgingly, "I'll have it if you'll have some first." 

The psychiatrist had already taken tea, but to humor Hess 
he ate a small piece of his cake and sipped some of the 
glucose to show that it was not poisoned. Only then would 
Hess consent to drink some himself. 



Now that it seemed clear that no successful results would 
emerge from his visit, Hess decided to cut short his stay in 
Britain. He asked for a passage on a plane back to Germany. 
It would have been possible for a civil airliner to take him 
to Lisbon, which was neutral, because a regular service was 
maintained between London and Lisbon throughout the 
war. His request, however, was ignored. 

Percival assured him that if he did go home Hitler would 
have him shot. He had flown away without the Fiihrer's 
knowledge, so he maintained, and this Hitler would not be 
able to condone. Hess refused to believe Percival. He re- 
mained convinced that he would be well received, and that 
if he could not get an airliner to take him to Lisbon, he 
could easily parachute over Germany as he had parachuted 
over Scotland. The argument ended when Hess heard a 
B.B.C. news bulletin which said how the name of the Hess 
Hospital in Germany had been changed. Thereafter Hess 
said no more to Percival about going home; he realized that, 
for the time being at least, he was out of favor, 


But he was in touch with his family and friends. He wrote 
to his wife, giving her an account of his flight and enclosing 
a sketch of his parachute landing for the benefit of his little 
son, Buz. His wife, and several friends, spent hours poring 
over this with magnifying glasses in the hope that it might 
contain a message in code or some concealed clue to his 
whereabouts; but there was nothing. 

He wrote to Professor Haushofer in time for his birthday, 
sending the letter early "as it transpires that my letters take 
months to reach their destination/' 

"Do not worry over me/' he wrote. "You, less than anyone, 
need do this. That my present situation is not exactly agree- 
able goes without saying. But, in time of war, we have to 
put up with many things that are not agreeable. 

"Let the waves like thunder break, 
Be your very life at stake; 
May you crash or may you land 
E'er as your own pilot stand! 

"That I crashed is not to be denied, and it is equally cer- 
tain that I was my own pilot! In this matter I have nothing 
with which to reproach myself. It was I who took the con- 
trols. You know as well as I do that the compass which 
guides our affairs is influenced by forces that are infallible 
even when we know them not. May those forces be favorable 
to you in the years to come!" 

Still, Hess had not entirely lost faith in his mission. When 
all else seemed to have failed, he then asked to see the King, 
so that he could put his case before him. He received no 
answer to this proposal. Hess had arrived as an uninvited 
envoy, and now he was being pressed to stay. Only then, it 
seemed, did he realize the truth. It seemed an unimaginable 
end to his mission. Everything had gone wrong and he had 
achieved nothing at all. He sat hunched up in the big leather 
armchair, which the Ministry of Works had provided among 
the furniture for his use, and considered his future. It did not 


seem either bright or hopeful. His journey, his plans, his 
dreams of making peace, were a failure and a fiasco. 

Churchill had no intention of agreeing to peace on any 
terms but the complete surrender of Germany. There existed 
no hope of Britain's negotiating peace on any other terms, 
and now Hess knew that there never had been. Otherwise 
he would have been treated in a very different way from 
the hour of his arrival. Instead, he was a prisoner, guarded 
by doctors in case he came to any harm, and growing more 
convinced that they were adding drugs or poison to his 
food, either to make him go mad or to force him to reveal 
what he might know of Hitler's plans. No amount of denials 
from the doctors concerned could reassure him or convince 
him that he was mistaken. 

Once, he received a large box of chocolates from his wife 
through the Red Cross. He refused to eat them; he was cer- 
tain that they had been poisoned. Percival did not share this 

"Well, if you don't want them/' he said, "can I have them 
for the mess?" 

Hess was reluctant to let them go for fear all the officers of 
the Guards would be killed. "You can have them if you 
want," he agreed finally, "but you mustn't eat them. If you 
do, you'U die." 

They did, and they didn't; Hess could not understand it. 

Hess had first come under medical supervision on the 
night he landed, when he was taken to the military hospital 
in Buchanan Castle to have his right ankle examined. While 
there, he complained to Lt. Col. Gibson Graham that he was 
"feeling confused, especially after talking for any length of 
time." * This Hess put down to the strain of the flight. Later, 
Colonel Graham noted that "he showed himself to be ... 
very nervous and introspective about his health." * 

As time passed and no tangible results came from his mis- 
sion, his nervousness increased. 

"He was convinced he was surrounded by Secret Service 

* The Case of Rudolf 

agents who would accomplish his death either by driving 
him to commit suicide, committing a murder staged to look 
like suicide, or administering poison in his food. . . ." * Colo- 
nel Graham reported that he was "unable to convince him 
of the groundlessness of such assertions/* 

When Hess dined with Colonel Graham and their food 
was served from a common dish, Hess would carefully select 
whatever the meat might be perhaps a chop but never 
the one which happened to be nearest to him. 

His conversations about his early days in the Nazi party, 
about his hopes for peace, the plans he had made for his 
journey "with the mixture of grandiose background and 
flimsy woolly substance" convinced Graham that Hess 
should be examined by a psychiatrist. Brigadier J. R. Rees, 
the Army's chief psychiatrist, was consulted. He interviewed 
Hess and agreed that the Deputy Fiihrer needed psychiatric 

In my opinion Hess is a man of unstable mentality and has 
almost certainly been like that since adolescence. In technical 
language I should, on my present acquaintanceship, diagnose 
him as a psychopathic personality of the schizophrenic type, i.e., 
a tendency to a splitting of his personality. 

He is, as many of these people are, suggestible and liable to 
hysterical symptom formation. Because of his constitutional 
make-up and the kind of life he has led of recent years, he is at 
present in some danger of a more marked depressive reaction 
now that he feels frustrated.* 

Thus, Hess, the believer in herbs and homeopathic treat- 
ments and the influence of the stars, came under several of 
Britain's most senior and experienced psychiatrists. 

When he realized their close professional interest in him, 
he tended to dramatize his emotions. He hoped that if he 
were declared of unsound mind, then he might be considered 
for repatriation with other disabled prisoners of war. 

Hess stayed at Mytchett Place for thirteen months and 



with every month that passed, his belief that his captors 
were administering truth drugs and poisons to him in his 
food and drink increased. The fact that an officer of the 
guard regularly ate with him did nothing to diminish this 

On two or three evenings a week, Hess and Percival would 
play L'Attaque, an old French game with a checkerboard, 
between opposing British and French armies. Each piece has 
a rank; this varies from the most senior, the Commander in 
Chief, to the most junior, the Spy. 

At first, Hess would not play because the German army 
was not involved. Percival persuaded him by suggesting that 
he should take the French side, since Germany had con- 
quered France. Hess agreed. 

They played merrily until one evening the humble British 
Spy, moved by Percival, captured the French Commander 
in Chief, manipulated by Hess. Hess immediately swept the 
board and pieces onto the floor. 

"It's not fair!" he cried. "It's not fair!" 

As time passed, Hess became steadily more nervous and 
distressed. The frequent clatter of motorcycle engines, revved 
up inexpertly by soldiers being taught to ride, the lights 
that burned continually in his room, the sudden entrance 
during the night of officers with torches to make sure he 
had not escaped all these combined to produce in his mind 
the feeling that he was being systematically subjected to an 
experience calculated to irritate and annoy him. 

These incidents all had perfectly simple and straightfor- 
ward explanations, but these he refused to accept. Hess be- 
lieved that his guards were all members of a great conspiracy 
against him. Slowly there grew in his mind the certainty that 
somehow the Jews were behind this diabolical attempt to 
derange him. 

One night he called the duty psychiatrist to his room. 
Then, fists clenched, obviously in a state of high emotional 
tension, he faced him across the table. "I am being undone 
and you know it!" he shouted. 


'What do you mean? In what way are you being undone?" 
asked the psychiatrist calmly. 

"You know it! You know it!" roared Hess. 

Shortly after this Hess asked for a copy of Goethe's poems. 
At the top of a sheet of writing paper he copied out five lines 
from "Das Gottliche": 

According to eternal., iron, great 


Must we all 

Complete the cycles 

Of our being. 

Under these lines he wrote a personal letter to Hitler, in 
which he assured him of his continuing loyalty to National 
Socialism and of his personal devotion to him as a man. 

"I die/' he wrote, "in the conviction that my last mission, 
even if it ends in death, will somehow bear fruit. Perhaps 
my flight will bring, despite my death, or indeed partly be- 
cause of my death, peace and reconciliation with England." 

Clearly Hess was becoming so depressed by the failure of 
his mission and so obsessed by his conviction that the British 
were slowly and systematically poisoning him that he was 
approaching a crisis in his mind. He would either take his 
own life or at least do something dramatic that would give 
the impression of attempted suicide. 

Thus those closest to Hess were apprehensive. The officer 
who was on duty throughout each night, sitting in one of 
the rooms at Hess's disposal, and inspecting his bedroom 
from time to time, was warned to be specially vigilant. 

Late on the evening of June 15, five days after the inter- 
view with Sir John Simon and Ivone Kirkpatrick and a 
week before Germany invaded Russia the duty physician, 
Dr. Henry V. Dicks, visited Hess in his room. He found him 
in bed and apparently preparing for sleep. Dr. Dicks sug- 
gested that he should take some sleeping pills that had been 
prescribed for his insomnia, but Hess, still maintaining that 
these contained some destructive drug, refused to do so. He 
said he could sleep quite well without them. 


Dr. Dicks then wished him good night and went on to his 
own room, across a landing from Hess's bedroom and served 
by the same oak staircase in the center of the house. The 
vigil of the night began. Outside the house, guards walked 
silently in the dark garden. Inside, troops waited, Tommy 
guns at the ready, in case of any emergency. But the hours 
passed uneventfully until about two o'clock the following 

Hess called out to his guard, "I want to see the doctor. I 
can't sleep." 

The guard told a messenger to relay this information to 
Dr. Dicks. The doctor put on his dressing gown, picked up 
the carton of sleeping pills he had earlier offered Hess, and 
walked towards the Deputy Fiihrer's quarters a bedroom, 
a sitting room, and a bathroom which lay at the end of a 
passage that ran from the top of the stairs. In front of them 
a wire grille had been set up, with its own metal door. This 
was bolted from the outside whenever Hess was in his suite, 
and an armed military-police sergeant sat on a chair outside 
it with the key.* 

As Dr. Dicks approached, the sergeant stood up, undid the 
padlock and held open the door. At that moment, Hess ap- 
peared at the door of his bedroom, wearing his Air Force 
uniform. As soon as he saw that the wire door was open and 
that he could reach the landing, he began to race towards 
the doctor. 

"The expression on his face was one of extreme despair, his 
eyes starting, his hair dishevelled/' wrote Dr. Dicks later. f 
"I felt sure that he was going to attack me physically. I was 
about to tackle him when he did a rapid side-step, and took 

* Once Hess complained of this arrangement; he said that he was simply 
a prisoner in a cell. The officer of the guard disagreed. He explained that 
the wire gate was locked in case any attempt should be made from outside 
to harm Hess; it was done for his own protection. This satisfied Hess for 
a few days until he suddenly realized that the lock and key were on the 
other side of the wire! 

t The Case of Rudolf Hess. 


a flying leap over the banister. A heavy thud occurred, after 
what seemed minutes later, on the floor of the hall, followed 
by agonized groans." 

At that precise moment, the second sergeant of the guard 
began to walk slowly up the stairs, carrying a full cup of 
steaming tea in one hand for his colleague on duty. As Hess 
dived over the banisters to the floor beneath, the sergeant, 
racing down the stairs to where Hess lay crumpled on the 
flagstones, dropped the cup with a crash of splintering china. 
He whipped his revolver out of his holster. 

"Don't shoot!" shouted Dr. Dicks. "Don't shoot!" 

The sergeant put away his .45 and, with his colleague from 
the wire door, joined the doctor. 

"Give me morphia, give me morphia/' Hess gasped, writh- 
ing on the cold stones. 

The three men knelt by his side. The noise of his fall, the 
clatter of the breaking cup, the doctor's shout, had awakened 
everyone in the building. Doors were opening on all levels, 
and heads poking out in curiosity. 

"What's happened? Who's hurt? Is he dying?" 

Someone brought pillows, someone else blankets, a third 
brought the British panacea for all ills, a cup of hot tea. 

Dr. Dicks knelt down to examine Hess. So far as he could 
tell, he had not suffered any internal injury through his 
jump, but he had broken one leg. A surgeon was immediately 
sent for from a nearby military hospital. 

Dr. Dicks did not want to give Hess any morphia until 
he had been thoroughly examined, in case it should mask 
any signs or symptoms of internal injuries. To humor Hess, 
however, he injected him with distilled water. Hess waited 
for the injection to take effect. When it had no effect, he 
said coldly, "That wasn't morphia at all. You have deceived 



At that moment the surgeon arrived. He diagnosed "an 
uncomplicated fracture of the upper left part of the left 
femur." It was set immediately. Hess bore this painful busi- 

ness stoically, but expressed regret and sadness that his mag- 
nificent breeches should have to be cut open with scissors so 
that his injured leg could be reached. 

Somehow, he was carried to his bed, and after all the fuss, 
he seemed strangely quiet and peaceful. But this was not to 
last. Within a few hours he complained that he could not 
pass his water. 

Various methods were tried to help his condition but with- 
out success. Finally Hess himself suggested that a catheter 
should be used, and that he should have a cocaine local 
anesthetic. No cocaine was available, and the doctor ex- 
plained that from previous experience of similar cases he had 
not found it necessary to use this drug. Further, he was using 
a gum elastic catheter, which would be relatively painless. 
Hess disagreed, and began to shout, "Help! Help!" 

At this uproar, "scenting further drama," Dr. Dicks wrote 
later, "the denizens of our house of mystery poured from all 
the doors, with myself torn between my duties to the patient 
and my wish to reassure a group of officers who had been 
already considerably upset by the day's incidents and their 
narrowly averted prospects of unpleasant courts of enquiry 
and displeasure in high places/' * 

Somehow they were pacified, and the doctor turned his 
attention to Hess. He had been on duty for nearly twenty 
hours without proper rest, and he was very tired. Partly be- 
cause of this weariness, and partly to shame Hess into silence, 
he addressed him shortly. 

"Aren't you ashamed of yourself?" he asked. "You, the 
second man in the German Reich, causing us all this trouble 
and then bellowing like a baby! Ill do nothing further to 
relieve your bladder." 

This had the desired effect, and Hess lay silent and baleful 
while the procedure was carried out. 

For most of his stay at Mytchett, Hess was allowed to read 
The Times every day. He appeared pleased with the news 

* Ibid. 

that the German army was making such a tremendous and 
virtually unopposed advance into Russia. 

If their battle against the Russians proceeded at this pace 
with Germany fighting on her own, without allies, then his 
journey to Britain to seek British help against Russia had 
been needless. Also, his incarceration would not last much 
longer. But even so, Hess was conscious of personal failure 
in being unable to persuade Britain to accept the terms of 
peace he had brought to offer. 

"From the psychological point of view his attempt at 'mak- 
ing peace' had failed, as it had also from the political stand- 
point/' wrote one of the psychiatrists later. "The bad impulses 
were not eliminated, for he found himself surrounded by a 
hostile prison regime. 

"Instead of being hailed as the saviour of Britain and the 
world, he now became definitely persecuted, partly project- 
ing his guilt over destructiveness into the notion of a hidden 
Jewish poisoner clique and partly increasing his hypochon- 
driacal preoccupations with bad inside events in his stomach, 
and liver, etc." 

It was against this background this awareness that while 
he personally had failed in his mission, the German army 
was still doing so well against its new enemy that Hess 
prepared to receive another visitor, Lord Beaverbrook, then 
Minister of Supply. 



On the Monday after Hess landed in Scotland, Lord Beaver- 
brook called to see Churchill at No. 10 Downing Street. The 
Prime Minister pushed a photograph across the desk towards 
him. It was of a man in middle life, with dark hair and bushy 
eyebrows, holding the hand of a little boy. 

"Who's that?" asked the Prime Minister. 

"Rudolf Hess," replied Beaverbrook immediately. He rec- 
ognized him from prewar meetings in Berlin. "Why do you 

"He landed in Scotland on Saturday night/' Churchill told 

This news seemed impossible, and beyond the limits of 
belief as Hess himself agreed when Beaverbrook told him 
the story at Mytchett Place. "I can quite understand your 
surprise/' Hess told him. "But we were convinced in Ger- 
many that Britain hadn't got a chance, and so it seemed to 
me best to come and point this out personally." 

For security reasons, Beaverbrook visited Camp Z under 
the pseudonym of Dr. Livingstone, following the cover plan 
adopted by Sir John Simon and Ivone Kirkpatrick, so that 

the guards would think that he was simply another visiting 

He addressed Hess as Jonathan, so that the concealed ste- 
nographer who recorded their conversation would not know 
who was being interviewed. 

When Hess and Beaverbrook had met in Germany before 
the war, both had been men of power. Now Hess was at the 
nadir of his fortunes, while Beaverbrook stood at the peak 
of his enormous wartime prestige. 

While he was Minister of Aircraft Production during the 
previous crucial year, his overwhelming and often ruthless 
determination had provided the R.A.F. with the planes and 
thus the opportunity to win the Battle of Britain. When 
Churchill became Minister in May, 1940, almost a year to 
the day before Hess landed, Britain had possessed exactly 
five airplanes in the storage units. She could have easily been 
overwhelmed by any concentrated aerial attack. 

Beaverbrook discovered that nearly 2,000 fighter aircraft, 
either shot down or crashed, had arbitrarily been written off 
as being beyond repair. Also, many depots around the coun- 
try contained vast stocks of aircraft spares. Immediately he 
ordered teams of mechanics to cannibalize the crashed air- 
planes and to construct one airworthy machine out of every 
two or three wrecks. At the same time, the spares were as- 
sembled into fighter planes. 

Thus, by September, five months later, when the Battle of 
Britain was at its height, Beaverbrook had increased these 
five reserve planes to 704 first-line fighters, with 289 in re- 

The Battle of Britain was, in fact, the Battle for Britain. 
Hitler could not invade until Germany had aerial supremacy 
over the country. This, Goring and the Luftwaffe could not 
achieve. Thus Hitler, thwarted, turned his attention east. On 
December 12, 1940, he ordered plans to continue for a cam- 
paign against Russia. 

Beaverbrook stood closer to Churchill than any other col- 
league in the War Cabinet. They had been friends for many 

years, and although they did not always agree, their differ- 
ences never diminished the warmth of their relationship. 
Thus, in September, 1941, Beaverbrook was the obvious 
choice to interview Hess and to give Churchill his own per- 
sonal opinion of the man and his mission. 

The psychiatrists had already reported that Hess was un- 
stable, neurotic, a hypochondriac, even a paranoid. But psy- 
chiatrists, working in their dim half-world of the human 
mind, sometimes have difficulty in marking the shadowy 
frontier between sanity and insanity. In simple language, 
Churchill wanted a straight answer to the question: Is Hess 
mad or is he sane? 

At their meeting, Hess repeated to Beaverbrook the steps 
that had persuaded him to fly to Britain. He even enlivened 
the conversation with a joke. He said that before he left 
Germany, someone had told him how German pilots had 
bombed the British Ministry of Information. 

"That's all wrong," he had told them. "You shouldn't bomb 
our ally!" 

For before Brendan Bracken took over as Minister of Infor- 
mation, British propaganda had been rather less than suc- 

Hess added that he had calculated on some of the British 
leaders having what he called the "common sense" to recon- 
sider fighting an unnecessary war. However, events had 
proved him wrong; he had been discredited and humiliated. 
He complained that he could not understand why the real 
motive for his arrival had not been made public. 

When Beaverbrook explained Churchill's reasoning, Hess 
admitted the force of the argument, but persisted that he 
had arrived to negotiate peace with Britain, on any terms, 
providing Britain would join Germany in attacking her ally, 

Eighteen years later in a B.B.C. television program in 
1959, Beaverbrook made public the conversation that fol- 

I repeat the arguments that Hess used to me, in the very words 
which he spoke at that time. 

He said, "A victory for England will be a victory for the Bolshe- 
viks. A Bolshevik victory will sooner or later mean Russian oc- 
cupation of Germany and the rest of Europe." 

England, he said, would be incapable of hindering it, as would 
any other nation. 

"England is wrong," said Hess, "if she believes that the German 
Bolshevik war will result in such a weakening of the Germans 
and Bolsheviks that danger to Europe and to tie British Empire 
would cease to exist. 

"Not so," he said. 

Lastly, he declared, "I am convinced that world domination 
awaits the Soviet Union in the future if her power is not broken 
now. With the loss to Great Britain of her position as an Im- 
perial Power." 

This was a prophecy of remarkable accuracy, certainly 
not the foolishness of an unsound mind. Beaverbrook re- 
turned to London and reported on his visit to Churchill. 
The Prime Minister heard him out and then asked, "Is he 

"Certainly not,** replied Beaverbrook. "Hess talks quite 
sanely and rationally. He may have unusual ideas on health 
matters, but he is not mad." 

Within a few days of this interview Beaverbrook led a 
British Government Mission to Stalin in Moscow, to report 
on the vast amount of war material Britain had already sent 
to Russia. Had Hess succeeded in his mission, all this would 
naturally have been used against Russia with terrible and 
almost certainly conclusive results. 

Between that October and the following June, Britain was 
sending 1,800 fighter aircraft, plus 440 which had already 
been promised. There would also be 2,250 tanks, with a tar- 
get of 250 additional tanks every month. 

Naval assistance had already been agreed, but in addition 
to this a further 1,000,000 shells were on their way, with 
1,000 twenty-five-pounder guns. Being sent separately were 
2,250 two-pounder high velocity guns for use in the tanks, 
with a further 500 in reserve for use against German tanks, 
and 7,000 Bren guns. 


Britain was also giving to Russia 23,000 American Tommy 
guns which she had already ordered for her own troops, and 
2,000 British-made Sten guns. 

To keep Russia's own war factories supplied, gigantic 
quantities of tin from Malaya and rubber from Burma were 
on their way, although Britain had already marked this tin 
and rubber for British factories. 

Britain would be sending 72,000 tons of rubber immedi- 
ately, with 25,000 tons of electrolytic copper, 5,000 tons of 
aluminum, with a further 2,000 tons every month until the 
contract ended. Britain would also give Russia 3,000,000 
pairs of boots and 250,000 greatcoats for her soldiers. 

In addition to this direct aid, which was to the limit of 
British ability at that time, there were plans to occupy Persia 
and run a railway route from the south to Teheran in the 
north and beyond to the Russian border. Thus constant con- 
voys of supplies could be ferried into Russia. Churchill had 
even empowered Beaverbrook to tell Stalin that British 
troops could be sent to be under his command into the 

"There's no war in the Caucasus," Stalin pointed out. 

"Well, well send the troops to Archangel/' said Beaver- 

'That proposal at least has the advantage that Churchill 
knows the way and the way back," replied Stalin drily. 
The last time British troops had been in Archangel was 1918, 
during their unsuccessful intervention against the Bolsheviks. 

During Beaverbrooks talks with Stalin, the Russian leader 
frequently turned the conversation to Hess and his mission. 
Why had he flown to England? Why had he not already been 
shot as a Nazi war criminal? 

"You just don't shoot a person in England," Lord Beaver- 
brook explained. "He has to have a trial before a jury, but 
I can tell you why he is in Britain." * 

He then showed Stalin a transcript of his interview with 

* London Evening Standard, controlled by Lord Beaverbrook, September 
15, 1959. 

1 7 8 

Hitler's Deputy, in which Hess suggested that Britain and 
Germany should join together against Russia. 

"That really knocked old Stalin for six," said Lord Beaver- 
brook afterwards.* And well it might, for ungracious al- 
though Stalin appeared in view of the prodigious quantities 
of goods being supplied by Britain without thought of gain 
or reward, he realized quite well that had Hess's mission 
succeeded, then this cataract of weapons would have been 
turned against him. 

Worse, from the Russian point of view, Germany would 
not be fighting at sea, in the North African desert, and in the 
air as well as in Russia. She would be fighting on one front 
only, the Russian front. And aiding her efforts would be 
the growing might of the British war machine. 

Even with Germany weakened by fighting on two fronts, 
she came nearer to defeating Russia than any previous in- 
vader. And finally it was the Russian weather Generals 
January and February that halted the German armies. Had 
Germany and Britain been allies in this invasion, their com- 
bined forces would have reached Moscow and beyond be- 
fore the winter. The outcome would never have been in 

It was thus no wonder that the question of Hess continued 
to fascinate Stalin throughout the war; he feared a plot. 
Britain would give Germany the same freedom to attack 
Russia that Russia had given Germany to attack Poland and 
the west. 

In the year following Beaverbrook's visit, on October 20, 
1942, John Fisher, an Australian commentator in Moscow, 
broadcast extracts from an article in Pravda on the subject 
of Hess. He reported; 

Pravda calls in an outspoken manner for the trial of Rudolf 
Hess, Hitler's former Deputy, who dropped onto the soil of Scot- 
land seventeen months ago. 

The Soviet Government has issued an unusually picturesque 
writ of habeas corpus calling on the British authorities to produce 

* Ibid. 


the body of Hess so that the whole world can see exactly what he 
represents. . . . 

It is time to make clear exactly what Hess is. Is he a criminal, 
subject to punishment, or is he the authorized representative of 
Hitler's government in England, enjoying immunity? Many Rus- 
sians feel that Hess's flight to Britain is in some obscure way 
linked up with the absence of the second front in Europe. 

When Churchill met Stalin in Moscow two years later, 
in 1944, the British Prime Minister noted how the Russian 
dictator still kept returning to Rudolf Hess. 

He asked at the dinner table what was the truth about the 
Hess mission. ... I had the feeling that he believed there had 
been some deep negotiation or plot for Germany and Britain to 
act together in the invasion of Russia which had miscarried. Re- 
membering what a wise man he is, I was surprised to find him 
silly on this point. When the interpreter made it plain that he did 
not believe what I said, I replied through my interpreter, "When 
I make a statement of facts within my knowledge I expect it to 
be accepted/' Stalin received this somewhat abrupt response with 
a genial grin. "There are lots of things that happen even here in 
Russia which our Secret Service do not necessarily tell me about." 
I let it go at that.* 

Had the counsels of Rudolf Hess prevailed, and had 
Churchill been a man of lesser breed and caliber and agreed 
to compromise, victory on the eastern front would unques- 
tionably have gone to the Germans. Russia would have been 
defeated for the first time in her history. 

With the conquest of Russia, the heart of the great Com- 
munist octopus would have been mortally wounded, its 
legend of impregnability and invulnerability shattered for 
a generation if not forever. 

As a result, the bitter East- West conflict that has burned 
on unceasingly since the war, erupting in different countries, 
different continents, but always fed by Communist envious 
hatred for any individualistic way of life, would never have 

* The Second World War, vol. 3, The Grand Alliance. 

The face of history, the map of the world, would not be 
as it is today. The fever of postwar nationalism in the East, 
in Africa, in Cuba, with its explosive hatred against the 
Western powers which colonized and civilized these fre- 
quently backward peoples, would never have arisen. Com- 
munist sympathizers in high places in so many outwardly 
non-Communistic countries would have found it expedient 
to follow the National Socialist line. 

What would have happened to Britain had Churchill been 
persuaded to take what could have seemed an easy way of 
securing peace? 

For one thing, he would have been forced to resign. Hess 
insisted that Hitler could never begin to negotiate peace 
terms with Churchill. Thus a new Prime Minister would 
have been installed, naturally a man of Nazi leanings, and 
close sympathies with Germany. At first, many people in 
Britain might be persuaded or might even persuade them- 
selves that their country would lose little except her honor 
in agreeing to such proposals. 

She would still be in apparent control of an enormous 
empire, untouched by the ravages of war or nationalism. Her 
income from India, from the Argentine, her vast investments 
in other countries, might stay virtually as they had been for 
generations. Rationing could cease, and the blackout be 
lifted. Within a few weeks, everyday life in Britain in that 
summer of 1941 might have seemed to be back on a peace- 
time basis. 

But such a pleasant illusion could exist only while British 
aid in arms and armies was of use to Germany in her mortal 
struggle against Russia. 

With Russia defeated, what then would have been Brit- 
ain's position? Who could oppose any wish or whim of a 
Fiihrer who controlled two-thirds of the world whose area 
of influence far exceeded those of such past conquerors as 
Tamburlaine, Genghis Khan, Caesar, and Hannibal put to- 

Even assuming that Hitler, weary of blood and slaughter, 


decided against taking Britain or her possessions by force, 
he could control them just as easily. 

He could say, "We want to be friends with you. But to 
prove that you want to be friends, you should give us these 
countries, these peoples, for our own. If you do not, then 
we must treat this as an unfriendly action and deal with it 

As Hess had already admitted to Ivone Kirlcpatriclc and 
the Duke of Hamilton, Britain could be starved into sub- 
mission. Across the world, Australia and New Zealand, with 
their vast territories of sparsely populated land, would have 
stood alone and at the mercy of the Japanese. 

Had the Japanese still decided to attack Pearl Harbor, 
then the United States, with her Regular Army of barely 
75,000 men, an air force one-third of this size and a one- 
ocean Navy, would have fared even worse than when Japan 
did attack, in December, seven months after Hess landed. 

By Christmas, 1941, the Nazi flag would have flown above 
Moscow. By early 1942, the Germans would have controlled 
the greater part of Russia. Italians would rule the Mediter- 
ranean, and Japan would be the dominating power east of 
Suez, with Fascists in South America and elsewhere pre- 
paring to seize power. The spring of that year would have 
seen a world in eclipse; nations, continents, peoples, brought 
to the edge of darkness. 

That all this remains no more than a nightmare of what- 
might-have-been stands to the credit of Winston Churchill. 
On April 17, a fortnight before Hess landed, he gave a speech 
in London in which he said, "I have thought in this difficult 
period, when so much fighting and so many critical and 
complicated maneuvers are going on, that it is above all 
things important that our policy and conduct should be on 
the highest level, and that honor should be our guide/' 

That this was indeed Churchill's unswerving principle was 
shown by his refusal to entertain the proposals Hess brought 
so hopefully with him. 


Meanwhile, what was happening in Germany? What 
speculations and rumors had Hess's sudden disappearance 
aroused? And how did Hitler deal with them? 

Hitler's interpreter, Dr. Paul Schmidt, wrote later that it 
was "as though a bomb had struck the Berghof ? * 

General Keitel saw Hitler walking up and down his study, 
one hand held to his head, as he tried to "figure out" the 
General's own words what he should do and say.f 

Finally, the Fuhrer decided what to say but he took five 
days to make up his mind. Then, on May 15 the Thursday 
after Hess's departure Hitler called the heads of the army 
to a special meeting, and informed them that he had been 
"completely taken by surprise" by Hess's flight. Hess, he de- 
clared, had suffered "inner conflicts" by the thought of "two 
Germanic peoples destroying each other." 

In addition Hitler said that Hess was "inwardly disturbed 
because he was not on active service"; he was also "inclined 
to mysticism, visions and prophecies and so addicted to 
utterly reckless flying that the Fuhrer had forbidden him 
to go up." 

The generals received this information in silence. Clearly, 
they wondered why, if the second most important man in 
Germany was so unbalanced, this fact had only so recently 
been discovered. Certain selected journalists were then in- 
formed that Hess had suffered from "stomach ailments" and 
that, in fact, his work had been done for him "for some time" 
by Bormann. Now it was the turn of German newspaper 
readers to become skeptical. The more Hitler excused, the 
more he accused. 

Hitler did not seem to realize this. He was as anxious to 
prevent any rumors of a possible peace negotiation as 
Churchill was and for exactly the same reasons. On his 

* Paul Schmidt, Hitlers Interpreter, The Macmillan Company, New York, 

f Keitel Interrogation, (Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression). Part of Nurn- 
berg Document, Supplement B, pp. 127-173. 
General Haider's diary for May 15, 1941. 


instructions, Nazi headquarters issued a special statement 
to the German press: 

As far as it is possible to tell from papers left behind by Party 
Member Hess, it seemed that he lived in a state of hallucination 
as a result of which he felt he could bring about an understand- 
ing between England and Germany. 

It is a fact that Hess, according to a report from London, 
jumped from his airplane near the town to which he was trying 
to go and was found there injured. The National Socialist Party 
regrets that this idealist fell as a victim to his hallucinations. 

This, however, will have no effect on the continuation of the 
war which has been forced upon Germany. Dr. Karl Haushofer, 
head of the Geopolitical Institute, Willi Messerschmitt, Frau Hess 
and others were arrested. 

Apart from the basic news that Hess had jumped from 
his plane and that "others" his adjutant, and later, his driver 
and detective had been arrested, this statement was not 
true. Hess left no papers behind except the letter to Hitler 
with a copy addressed to his wife, and a memorandum to 
the effect that "I would say to the English that Italy must 
be included, as an essential condition/* * 

Neither Messerschmitt, Karl Haushofer, nor Frau Hess was 
arrested. Haushofer and Messerschmitt were questioned and 

Of all those near Hess, only Pintsch is known to have 
suffered as a result of his master's exploit, and the severity 
of his punishment far exceeded the importance of his role 
in the adventure. From the day of his arrest at Berchtes- 
gaden until 1944, he remained a prisoner of the Nazis, Then 
he was released to serve on the eastern front, and the Rus- 
sians captured him within a few weeks. 

A soldier in his company, whom Pintsch had punished for 
some trivial regimental offense, told his captors that Pintsch 
had been Hess's adjutant. The Russians were determined to 

* Note by Hess to his wife from Niirnbeig, May 8, 1947, enclosing ex- 
tracts from Haider's Diary. 


learn the secret of the mysterious flight They beat him up, 
broke all his fingers systematically, one by one, day by day, 
for ten days. Then they starved him and refused him sleep. 
But they were torturing the wrong man. He had already told 
all he knew. 

Eventually, in 1955, after eleven years as their prisoner, 
and a total of fourteen years in jail because of his association 
with Hess, he was free. Only one other man suffered longer 
for his part in this flight the man who made it. 

Albrecht Haushofer, according to his brother, was furious 
when he heard that Hess had flown off on his mission with- 
out informing Haushofer. "And to think that one is forced 
to conduct politics with such fools!" he exclaimed bitterly. 
Thereafter, he referred to Hess as "the motorized Parsifal/* 

His bitterness was increased by the fact that on the eve- 
ning of May 10 when Hess was actually on his way to 
Scotland and beyond all hope of recall Haushofer received 
a telegram from Herr Stahmer, Secretary of the German 
Embassy in Madrid. "The prearranged wording . . . indicated 
that Stahmer in Madrid had been able to contact the British 
Ambassador, then Sir Samuel Hoare, and that Haushofer's 
venture, to which Hess had eventually agreed, was appar- 
ently a success. But it was too late/' * 

On May 12, the Monday following Hess's departure, the 
Gestapo flew Albrecht Haushofer to Bad Godesberg in a 
special airplane. There he was interrogated, and despite the 
lateness of the hour at which he had arrived, he was forced 
to write a full account of "the kind and extent of his English 
connections, destined for Hitler." 

As Haushofer was already the principal adviser to Hitler's 
Foreign Office on British affairs, and as Hitler already knew 
of the previous attempts to reach some form of compromise 
armistice with Britain, it is not likely that the Fiihrer dis- 

* Walter Stubbe, "In Memoriam Albrecht Haushofer," in Vierteljahrshefte 
fur Zeitgeschichie" Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, Stuttgart, 8 Jahrgang, 1960, 
P. 236 et seq., translation. 


covered much that he did not know. It seems that this exer- 
cise was designed to cloak Hitler's own prior knowledge of 
these attempts. 

After the interrogation, an enemy of the Haushof er family, 
envious of their standing, their estate and their intellectual 
capabilities, remarked to Himmler, "This is the right mo- 
ment to finish off all the Haushofers." Himmler disagreed, 
possibly because he either knew or guessed the real reasons 
behind Albrecht Haushofer's arrest. 

Haushofer was kept in custody for three months, and then 
released and allowed to return home and to resume his 

His brother, Dr. Heinz Haushofer, recalls that after Mr. 
Eden had announced in Parliament that Hess had arrived 
with visiting cards from both Karl and Albrecht Haushofer, 
their telephone line was tapped, but no further action was 
taken against the family until July, 1944. Then Albrecht was 
arrested on a charge of complicity in the attempt on Hitler's 
life, and what was known as "the 20th of July movement." 
He was imprisoned in Moabit Jail, Berlin. He occupied the 
months in captivity by writing sonnets. Altogether he com- 
posed eighty, which became known as the "Moabit Sonnets'* 
by his friends. Haushofer never faced trial. At the end of 
April, 1945, just before the Russians entered the city, the 
Nazis shot him. 

Not long after, confronted with the inevitability of Ger- 
many's defeat, Albrecht's father Karl Haushofer took his own 
life. He was seventy-six. 

Hitler's statement that Use Hess had been arrested was 
quite without foundation. In fact, he issued specific instruc- 
tions that her husband's possessions should not be touched 
or moved or interfered with in any way. Further, Frau Hess 
was to receive the pension of a Cabinet Minister who was 
a prisoner of war. But before these orders filtered down the 
echelons of the party, Hess's Deputy, Martin Bormann, anx- 
ious to assume his master's authority, did his best to discredit 
his old chief and to humiliate his wife. 


First, he ordered her to Berlin to the flat which her hus- 
band maintained on the third story of 64 Wilhelmstrasse. 
Then, under the eyes of a party official, Frau Hess had to 
list all the furniture and fittings in the flat as either "private" 
or "official." 

Since this flat was used only when Hess was in Berlin on 
government affairs, the furniture and most of the other con- 
tents even the spoons were government property. But 
the carpets were their own, and Boraiann told Use Hess 
condescendingly that she could have the bedroom furniture 
cheap "as a remembrance." 

Elsewhere in Germany, hospitals and streets named after 
her husband were having their nameplates removed as osten- 
tatiously as possible and Hess's membership card was also 
removed from the party index, Clearly, Hitler did not wish 
the slightest suspicion to remain that he had known of Hess's 
intention or that he condoned it in any way. 

Bewildered and bemused, Use Hess was grateful for the 
friendship of two people at this time. One was Eva Braun, 
who sent her a personal letter saying that if ever Use was 
in serious trouble she must contact her immediately through 
a certain tradesman they both knew. 

"I liked you and your husband best of all," she wrote. 
"Please tell me if things become unbearable, for I can speak 
to the Fuhrer without Bonnann knowing anything about 

Use Hess's other friend in need was a retired banker, who 
assured her that although everyone knew why Bonnann 
hated Hess, Bormann had no authority to sell Hess's house 
in Harthauserstrasse without Hitler's knowledge and permis- 

This old friend stayed with her until Bormann*s men ar- 
rived to interview her in this house. They were led by Dr. 
Hansen, who had come to see her as soon as news of her 
husband's flight had been released. But to Frau Hess's sur- 
prise, instead of being rude and boorish, they were now quite 
pleasant. As Dr. Hansen said smilingly, "Everything has 


changed, our orders are different. They have been issued 
from the highest level!" 

"What has changed?" asked Frau Hess. 

"It is the Fiihrer's strict instruction that nothing belonging 
to Rudolf Hess shall be confiscated or moved, and that you 
will not be embarrassed in any way," 

Ilse Hess suggested that since her house was really too 
large for her and her son to occupy alone, it might be used 
as a hospital, but Bormann, mindful of Hitler's new orders, 
could not agree. Although she was receiving an ample pen- 
sion, Ilse Hess still felt that the house was too large for her, 
so she closed it. 

All her books she sent to the Hindelang Mountains, where 
she and her husband rented a small wooden chalet. Then 
Ilse and her son moved out into their chauffeur's flat. 

As they were packing up their belongings, the little boy 
kept asking his mother where his father had put one of his 
favorite toys, a khaki metal tank. Finally, the tin tank was 
discovered in his toy cupboard. Tied to it was the key of 
Hess's private safe. 

Wondering what she might find in the safe, Ilse Hess 
opened the door. Inside she saw a letter addressed to her. 
It was from her husband, and explained why he had gone 
to England. With this was a copy of the letter he had left 
for Hitler, which he concluded by saying that if his mission 
was unsuccessful the Fiihrer could escape all incriminations 
by simply saying that he was mad advice which Hitler had 
quickly and gratefully accepted. 

Ilse realized that her husband had hidden the key to his 
safe with this particular toy, knowing that it would eventu- 
ally be discovered. But he had calculated that she would not 
find the letter in time to try to persuade him not to go. Both 
these letters, along with nearly all her other possessions, were 
destroyed when the house was bombed and burned out in 
the last year of the war. 

Some time after interest in the whole episode had died 
down, Hitler hinted what his public denunciation of his 


oldest friend had meant to him. He was visiting Frau Elsa 
Bruckinann, shortly after the death of her husband Hugo, 
a Munich publisher who had helped and advised Hitler in 
his early days as a politician. Frau Bruckmann, a Roumanian 
princess before her marriage, and a clever woman, had 
known Hitler since his hungry days. She was thus not afraid 
to speak to him frankly and so risk his momentary dis- 

When Hitler arrived she was designing a headstone for 
her husband's grave. "We all have our graves and grow more 
and more lonely, but we have to overcome our feelings and 
go on living, my dear gracious lady!" Hitler said to her. "I 
too, am now deprived of the only two human beings among 
all those around me to whom I have been truly and inwardly 
attached: Dr. Todt * is dead, and Hess has flown away from 

"That is what you say now and to me, but what does your 
official press say?" retorted Frau Bruckmann. "Year after 
year we all go to Bayreuth f and are deeply moved, but who 
understands the real meaning? When our unhappy age at 
last produces a man who, like the Valkyries, fulfills the 
deeper meaning of Wotan's command and seeks to carry out 
your most sacred wish with heroism and self-sacrifice then 
he's described as insane!" 

"Isn't it enough," he answered quietly, "what I have said 
to you and to you alone about my real feelings?" he 
asked. "Is that not enough for you?" 

At about this time one of the British psychiatrists con- 

* He was killed in an airplane accident. 

f This is a reference to Wagner's opera Die Walkure, in which Siegmund 
and Sieglinde, brother and sister, are parted when very young. Years later 
Siegmund returns, and falls in love with his sister, not knowing her identity, 
and disregarding the fact that she is already married to someone else. 

A son, Siegfried, is born to them. Wotan, the head of the gods, knows the 
great destiny that awaits Siegfried, but Wotan's wife, knowing nothing o 
this, feels that the two guilty lovers should be punished. 

The girl's husband fights a duel with Siegmund. Wotan officially tells the 
Valkyries the handmaids of Odin to help the husband. Privately, he wills 
them to help Siegmund, which they do. Siegmund wins, 


cerned with Hess interviewed a German P.O.W. who had 
been employed by Berlin Radio. He had dealt with incom- 
ing wireless messages in the Central Information Bureau. 
The psychiatrist wrote later: 

The Information Bureau seemed to have had advance notice 
(off the record) of Hess's flight, so much so that the men on 
duty on the day of the flight would come in excitedly saying, 
"Any news yet?" or "Has he landed yet?" 

The informant thought it quite impossible for anybody to be 
able to fly a military plane out to sea without at least the cog- 
nizance of the German Air Force. He ventured the opinion that 
Hitler knew about Hess's project and encouraged it with typical 
crooked motives: (a) if Hess were successful in obtaining peace 
from Great Britain he would permit the mission to be acknowl- 
edged and Hess to be a hero, but (b) should it fail, he would 
be rid of a somewhat difficult and cranky personality who had 
incurred the displeasure of the S.S., and he could then publish 
a disavowal of Hess as a psychopath and traitor. This latter 
course was in fact followed when the world knew that Hess had 
landed in Britain.* 

Later in the war, Hitler told Colonel Otto Skorzeny, who 
rescued Mussolini from captivity on Hitler's orders after 
Italy sued for peace in September, 1943, that he would dis- 
own him if his rescue bid failed, in the same way that he 
had disowned Hess when his mission f ailed, f 

Looking back now, there seems little doubt that Hitler 
knew all about Hess's plans. Albrecht Haushofer was sure 
that his discussions with Hess were known to Hitler. His 
father, Karl Haushofer, was convinced that Hitler had, as he 
put it, "sacrificed" Hess. Bodenschatz thought that "Hitler's 
consternation and surprise" at the news of Hess's flight "were 
superbly played " 

It is unbelievable that in a dictatorship riddled with Ge- 
stapo agents and others eager to report unusual happenings, 

* The Case of Rudolf Hess. 

f Charles Foley, serial of Hess's life story, in The Daily Express* London, 
April 15, 1952. 


word of all Hess's complicated preparations for the flight did 
not reach Hitler. Messerschmitt, his chief test pilot Flight 
Captain Stohr, the executive Theo Croneiss, and a number 
of mechanics knew all about Hess's activities. In addition, 
there were the maps of the "forbidden zones" (supplied by 
Hitler's own pilot), and the radio location signals to help 
Hess on his way, as well as the special weather reports he 

Had Hitler truly been kept ignorant of all the arrange- 
ments made for Hess's flight, how would those who had 
helped Hess have fared when he finally flew away? There 
seems little doubt that their punishment would have been 
severe. The Third Reich had no mercy for those who dis- 
agreed with its policies or its leader. Hitler claimed that Hess 
would be shot if he returned, but these words are at variance 
with the way he treated the people who helped him go. Only 
the humble scapegoats, Pintsch and the driver and detective, 
suffered as a result of the flight. 

Thus, by all the available evidence, it seems certain that 
the only important fact about Hess's mission with which 
Hitler was not cognizant was the actual date of his departure. 


After Lord Beaverbrook's visit, Hess remained at Mytchett 
Place for several months, until June, 1942. During his stay 
there, he would frequently remark with pleasure to Percival 
that all his cutlery and crockery bore the Royal cipher, 
G.R. VI. He felt sure this was a personal tribute by the 
King to his importance. He did not realize that all War 
Department property is stamped with this cipher. He also felt 
that the presence of the Guards, the elite of the British 
Army, was a real, if obscure, compliment to his rank. 

Then, in June, Percival said goodbye to him. He had re- 
ceived another post. He explained to Hess that the Guards 
would also be saying farewell. In future, Hess would be in 
the care of the Pioneer Corps. 

"The Pioneer Corps?" repeated Hess. *Tve not heard of 
them. What are their usual duties?" 

"Digging latrines/' replied Percival laconically. 

It was thought inadvisable for Hess to be kept in a mili- 
tary prisoner-of-war camp, and clearly he could not remain 
indefinitely at Mytchett. He had remained there so long only 


because it was near London and convenient while he was 
being interviewed. Although he persisted in his belief that 
he was being poisoned, it was not feasible to remove him 
to a hospital where his delusions could be treated more 
easily. Once in the hospital, Hess might become a case for 
repatriation. This Churchill had no intention of allowing. 

After some discussion, a compromise was reached. Outside 
Abergavenny, in Wales, stood a great house, Maindiff Court, 
which before the war had been the admission hospital of 
the County Mental Hospital, about one and a half miles 
away. During the war it was turned over to service patients. 
Here Hess could be adequately guarded and treated should 
he fall ill or should his depression at the failure of his mission 
grow worse. Here, therefore, he was duly installed, in a small 
suite of rooms overlooking the gardens. 

Although Hess enjoyed conversations with his doctors and 
an occasional call from the Swiss envoy who, as the repre- 
sentative of the protecting power, made routine visits to him, 
as to ordinary P.O.W. camps, to make sure that the terms of 
the International Red Cross and the Geneva Convention 
were being met, Hess had no one of his own nationality near 
him. He was thus in virtual solitary confinement. His guards 
treated him with correctness, but always he was on his own, 
with his thoughts and the memory of the dream that had 

It was understandably a time of gloom for him. The strain 
he endured during his four years in Britain did nothing to 
help the instability which the psychiatrists had already 

Sometimes his worries produced real physical pain. On 
such occasions Hess would lie on the ground and cry out in 
agony, begging an orderly to bring him a hot-water bottle 
to ease the violent cramps in his stomach. Later in the war, 
when his rubber hot-water bottle perished, and it became 
impossible to buy a replacement, Hess appeared content to 
lie with a medicine bottle filled with warm water clasped 
to his stomach. 


Hess was grateful for any company. He would frequently 
walk to the limit of his wire "cage" in the garden and talk 
to the young daughter of one of the psychiatrists, Dr. Ellis 
Jones. She kept her pony in a field adjoining the hospital. 
He would also have long talks with Dr. Jones. They would 
discuss such diverse subjects as the future of gypsies and 
the power of hypnotists over their patients. 

The Swiss envoy usually presented Hess with a cigar each 
time he came to see him. Hess did not smoke, but he would 
accept this gift with grave courtesy, smell the leaf like a 
connoisseur, and carefully put the cigar into his breast 
pocket. When the envoy left, Hess would wrap up the cigar 
and wait for Dr. Jones's routine visit later in the day. 

* C A present for you, doctor," he would say with a smile 
and give him the cigar. 

Time and again, during their talks, Hess would discuss 
what he felt was the greatest danger facing Europe and the 
world should Nazi Germany be destroyed the creeping tide 
of Communism, which he was sure would emerge from the 
war as the world's most potent political force. 

"You live in an island, doctor," he would say, "so to some 
extent you feel insulated from it, as you feel insulated from 
other Continental problems. But the danger is very great, 
whether you realize it or not." 

Although he was frequently morose and withdrawn, he 
bore his imprisonment with dignity. He wrote regularly to 
his wife and received her letters in reply. 

On May 20, 1942, he also wrote to Professor Haushofer: 

Do not worry over me! You, less than anyone, need do this. 
That my present situation is not exactly agreeable goes without 
saying. But, in time of war, we have to put up with many things 
that are not agreeable. That is not important. You know best 

what counts in the long run You know as well as I do that 

the compass which guides our affairs is influenced by forces that 
are infallible even when we know them not. 

On September 9 of the same year, he wrote to his wife 
about his son, who was then five: 


How closely my life is bound up with mountains! Isn't it 
extraordinary? I estimate that roughly one-half of my life has 
been spent somewhere near a high mountain range. And I am 
more than glad that the little chap will become a regular moun- 
tain boy now that he's going to Ostrachtal. The language cer- 
tainly won't bother him. I can see him quickly picking up the 
genuine dialect. Though it's almost impossible to think of him as 
a schoolboy, confronted for the first time with the serious side 
of life; but it will be next year! 

In my eyes he is still the tiny wide-eyed child who was sitting 
on his chamber in the nursery at Harlaching when I last saw 
him! But one must remember that, even if he were never to go 
to school, we still could not make him stay put at the age when 
children are most fascinating. 

It gives me great delight to hear about every little thing that 
happens to you and around you go on writing this sort of letter! 
It means more to me than anything else you could write. What 
you think, I know already! And you know what I think on the 
same lines, without having to write about it. ... 

In the following year (February 14, 1943) he wrote: 

Oh, how I rejoiced to know that the little chap still remembers 
his dad; that he still knew where all the splendid toys were put 
away the puffing trains, wheels rattling on the rails, with which 
we secretly amused ourselves in my study during those days be- 
fore I left. I often think of the things I intended to tell him and 
show him, following up the bent of the "technical, geographical 
and scientific" Buz. 

I certainly never dreamed at one time how vitally important 
my technical and mathematical gifts would someday become in 
my life. Without this knowledge, I could not have achieved the 
"flight of my life," nor could I ever have mastered the compli- 
cated mechanism of the ME machine or navigated it. Everything 
in our lives has its purpose, seen in the long view even if half 
a century may elapse before we really know what it is. Many 
never know what it is! . . . 

Never during these years of captivity did his natural 
shrewdness desert him. He realized that his regular letters 
to his wife were censored, so he made a copy of every letter 
he wrote. He would send a copy of the first with the second, 


a copy of the second with the third, and so on. The censor 
frequently did not bother to read the duplicates. In this way 
Hess smuggled out to his wife certain details regarding his 

For instance, on July 16, 1943, he wrote her: 

I have broken off my habit of resting after the chief meal. 
Sometimes I have the opportunity of taking a walk in the neigh- 
borhood, which is beautiful. When the weather is good I enjoy 
little rests on the way, selecting spots where there is as enjoyable 
a view as possible. The colors of this landscape are unusual and 
attractive. An essential part is the red earth, lying between 
meadows and fields of green turning to yellowish tinges when 
ripe, and matching the autumn trees. Every cloud shadow at 
once changes the effect of the colors and the whole impression. 
It can happen that a distant mountain, dominating the back- 
ground, changes within a few minutes, under the influence of 
the light, from darkest violet through dark blue to olive and 
emerald green, with reddish brown and yellow turning to bluish 
gray. Further, I found that the colors are more beautiful in 
autumn and winter than other seasons. On the other hand, this 
has something to do with the softer light and, on the other, with 
the plowed-up fields which look even redder against the green 
of those left unplowed in the winter. I am quite ready to be- 
lieve, as I am told, that artists are especially attracted to this 

But the more beautiful it is, the more one realizes the truth of 
Goethe's words: 

When lovers hear the nightingale, 
He sets their joyous hearts a-winging, 
But when the captive hears his tale, 
He finds but sadness in their singing. 

The original letter had the information about the red earth 
deleted. La the carbon copy, this passage was not even 
touched. Use Hess asked Professor Haushofer in what part 
of Britain he thought her husband was being guarded. With 
Haushofer's great knowledge of soils and their location, he 
found this an easy question to answer. 

"There are only two areas in England that have this colour 


earth," he told her. "One is near Windermere and the other 
is centered around Abergavenny, in South Wales. Since there 
are no fields with such crops near Windermere, then I think 
that your husband must be somewhere near Abergavenny." 
In fact, Hess was about two miles out of that town. 

Oddly enough, while missing such items, which would 
have been important had Hitler wished to discover the 
whereabouts of his Deputy so that a rescue attempt could 
be made, the British censors regularly struck out what Hess 
called a "laughter line" in his letters. This was a wavy line 
if written in pen and ink, or a string of V's in a typewritten 
note. It was simply a harmless family way of showing sur- 
prise or amusement. The censor thought that it must have 
some far more sinister significance. 

On September 3, 1943, Hess wrote: 

It makes me very happy to see, again and again, from your 
letters that nothing has changed in your inward relationship to 
the man whose destiny we have been so closely linked with in 
joy and in suffering, for more than twenty years. You have 
changed no more than I myself have changed. One must never 
forget that these times have placed him under a nervous strain, 
hard to imagine a strain responsible for states of excitement, in 
which decisions have been made which would not have been 
made in more normal times. Writing thus, I am not thinking of 
myself not in the least but of my lads. As regards myself, I 
was prepared for anything. 

Taking any such excitement into account didn't alter the fact 
that thinking of my lads and their fate, I was overcome with 
anger from the start, although your latest news puts things in a 
different light from the way I saw them in my ignorance. The 
result was that for several days running, I stamped up and down 
my room with rage, expressing and explaining my views all in 
a regrettably one-sided manner. My explanations were certainly 
not directed to the man responsible for certain points of detail, 
who assuredly could not plead that he had to make quick de- 
cisions for his "executive measures" under strain of excitement 
In this relationship there is nothing but a complete vacuum, 
which will always remain a vacuum.* 

* This remark referred to Martin Bonnann. 


Then, in January, 1944, his letters struck a different note. 
On January 15, he wrote to his wife: 

I have been sitting here for, literally, several hours wonder- 
ing what I can write to you about. But I get no further; and 
that I regret to say is for a very special reason. Since, sooner or 
later, you will notice it or find out about it, I may as well tell 
you: I have completely lost my memory. The whole of the past 
swims in front of my mind enveloped in a gray mist. I cannot 
recollect even the most ordinary things. The reason for it I do 
not know. The doctor gave me a lengthy explanation, but I 
have already forgotten what it was. He assured me, however, 
that all would be well again. I trust he is right. 

Moreover, that is the reason why I can't actually write a sensi- 
ble letter; for that, memory is needed more than one might 
think. It is different though, if one has a letter in front of one to 
answer, providing subject matter and stimulus. Your last letter 
reached me on 13th September of last year I 

On February 26, 1944, he wrote: 

Please write again! Since September last year I have had noth- 
ing from you. 

When you do not write, I can't write either, for I need stimulus. 
Without a letter of yours I truly do not know what I can say to 
you. For, as I said in my last letter, I have completely lost my 
memory even if this be only a temporary state of things, as the 
doctor assures me. 

At the very least, tell me how the boy likes going to school. 

Ilse Hess had to wait for three years to hear the reason for 
this 'loss of memory" which, at the time, naturally worried 
and perplexed her. Then, from the jail at Niirnberg on 
March 10, 1947, her husband felt able to reveal his motives: 

That my letters from England, for a time, came so infre- 
quently had to do with an assumed loss of memory. For it is very 
difficult to write letters when one is supposed to have no 
memory! There is the danger of making a mistake that will re- 
veal the truth. It was my contention that I had a family, that I 
could just recollect that and nothing more. The address of my 
family had slipped my mind. It was there on one or another of 


your letters; but I had "forgotten" that I had any letters VWW. 

Your new letters always contained something or other that 
gave me a starting point, apparently, for my letters; thus I would 
not have to use my memory in any way to arouse suspicion. In 
short, I was forced to wait for a letter from you before I could 
write. However, owing to the unfathomable wisdom of unknown 
forces, there was always a gap of four, or even six months, be- 
tween yours; so now you will understand why I was often silent 
for long periods 

Towards the end this farce went so far that I allowed myself 
to be given injections against loss of memory. At first I made 
some resistance, but I saw there was nothing else for it if I did 
not want to strengthen the suspicion they had that at the very 
least I exaggerated my trouble. Luckily, it was admitted before- 
hand that it was not certain the treatment would recall lost 
ideas. The worst of it was that as part of the treatment I was 
given a narcotic, and under its influence had to answer questions 
supposed to "reunite the conscious and subconscious." So I was 
faced with a double danger: I might reveal things that, as a Ger- 
man, I should hold secret (very likely the intention of the in- 
stigator of the injections! ) or I might let the cat out of the bag 
concerning my loss of memory! 

In the long run, as I have said, I had to give way. But, by call- 
ing up every scrap of willpower, I managed not to lose conscious- 
ness while pretending to be unconscious and they gave me more 
than the normal dose. To every question I simply said, "I do not 
know," with a pause between each word, speaking softly in a 
flat, absentminded voice VWVV. After a long time, I was able 
to recall my own name, which I breathed in the same flat man- 
ner. Finally, I thought it time to return to consciousness and 
woke up, eyes full of astonishment, to return slowly to life. It was 
a real drama. Add: a complete success! They were now utterly 
convinced that my memory was quite gone. 

I now began to hope that I would at last be exchanged and 
sent home; but it came to nothing. Yet every now and then a 
hint was given me that I might be allowed to go back on the 
next voyage of the Drottningholm as I think the Swedish hospital 
ship was called. You can imagine what that meant to me! But 
the ship sailed without me ? and the next time, and the next time 
. . . and every next time. 


How completely the experiment with the narcotic convinced 
my doctors that my loss of memory was genuine is shown by 
the fact that when at a later date, for special reasons of my own, 
I thought it best to reveal my trickery, the medical gentlemen 
at first refused to believe that they had been taken in, Only when 
I repeated to them all the questions that had been put to me 
when I was "unconscious" and when I played over again the 
comedy of "awakening," using the same mode of speech and flat 
voice, were they forced to admit that I had brought off a terrific 
'leg pull" WVW. So there can be little doubt that I did really 
do all that lay within my power to bring about the intervention 
of the gods but the gods thought otherwise, and they must have 

The failure of his mission helped to convince him that he 
was the victim of a Jewish plot. He claimed that the Jews 
had "some power" to hypnotize people without their knowl- 
edge. Towards the end of the war on February 5, 1945 
Hess made a list of people who he was sure had been hypno- 
tized in this way. It included Winston Churchill, Anthony 
Eden, the King of Italy, General von Paulus even Hess 

Hypnosis, according to him, changed Churchill's senti- 
ments from anti- to pro-Bolshevik. Once, so he said, he re- 
membered that Anthony Eden had been rude to Goring at 
some forgotten state occasion. Clearly the British Foreign 
Secretary had been under the same evil hypnosis. Nor would 
the King of Italy and Badoglio have concluded an armistice 
with the Allies, after solemnly assuring Hitler that they would 
never do this, unless they had been hypnotized. 

Hess then declared that he was sure that he also had been 
hypnotized in this way. Otherwise he would never have been 
rude to German collaborators in Italy at a banquet long ago 
when clearly he should have been pleasant to them. 

After drawing up this list, Hess asked an orderly if he 
would be kind enough to bring him a bread knife. He wanted 
to make himself some toast. This explanation was believed 
and a knife was produced. 


Hess carried it into his bedroom, shut the door, changed 
into his Air Force uniform and deliberately stabbed him- 
self in the chest. It was not a very serious gash, and only two 
stitches were required; but half an inch either way and the 
wound could have been fatal. 

Why did he attempt suicide again, however halfheartedly, 
when he had endured nearly four years of imprisonment 
with patience and dignity? Hess explained that he was sure 
he would never be allowed to leave Britain. Moreover, it 
was clear that Germany had lost the war and this meant that 
the Communists would overrun first his country, then France 
and Britain. Thereafter, however, he appeared calm and 
composed. He had made his last protest. Now, philosophi- 
cally, he awaited the outcome of events he could not con- 

The Swiss envoy had brought him several German books 
which he read avidly in search of comfort and consolation. 
Hess wrote to his wife on June 21, 1945, that in Konrad 
Giinther's book Naturleben, he had found one passage that 
he felt applied to him: "The work of a great man does not 
achieve its full effect until after the death of its creator, for 
the present cannot grasp it. . . " 

"Can there be anything more heroic," he asked, "than a 
development that follows an undeviating course in the pur- 
suit of a great task, imposed from the earliest beginnings 
even when the chosen path appears again and again to be- 
come confused and lost and becomes a pilgrimage of suffer- 

Also in this book was a quotation from Schopenhauer 
which impressed him equally: "The highest that can be 
achieved is an heroic passage through life. Such a life is led 
by the man who, pursuing a purpose for the benefit of all, 
struggles against all-too-great difficulties, receives yet a poor 
reward or no reward at all!" 

During his stay at Abergavenny, he prepared a statement 
about his treatment since his arrival, which showed how the 


strain of his confinement, added to his feeling of failure, in- 
tensified his sense of being persecuted: 

In Mytchett I was constantly awakened from sleep, partly by 
the officers who came into my room with a lot of noise and who 
flashed a strong light on my face, allegedly to make sure that I 
was still alive. Partly, also, by the many air-raid alarms and all- 
clears which sometimes went up to four a night and which were 
repeated by sirens and horns that were mounted on the house. I 
could hear neither the noise of motors nor antiaircraft fire. If I 
tried to catch up on my sleep during the day, this was prevented 
by constant slamming of doors, people running up and down 
stairs on a stairway which was apparently right over my room 

They offered me food and drinks constantly which the others 
would not accept. Once, when I was careless and drank a little 
bit of milk by myself, a short time later I got diz2y, had a terrific 
headache and could not see straight any more. Soon thereafter 
I got into a hilarious mood, and increased nervous energy became 
apparent. A few hours later, this gave way to the deepest depres- 
sion and weakness. From then on I had milk and cheese brought 
into my room every day, but merely to deceive the people that I 
was eating that stuff. 

The people around me put more and more peculiar questions 
to me, touching upon my past. My correct answers evidently 
caused disappointment. However, loss of memory, which I simu- 
lated, gradually caused satisfaction. Finally, I got to such a state 
that apparently I could not remember anything any more that 
was further back than a few weeks. Then a conference with Lord 
Chancellor Simon, of which I had been informed before, was 
planned for the gth of June. I was convinced that the obvious 
endeavor to weaken my memory had some connection with that 

I suspected that I was to be prevented in this manner from 
making any proposals for an understanding and that moreover 
Lord Simon was to receive the impression that I was mentally 
not normal because I was not capable of answering the simplest 
questions that were to be put to me. 

Thus, in order to be safe, I did not eat anything the last three 
days before the conference except for drinking some water. 
When he came I had some wine brought up to my room, but 


instead of drinking it I poured it away. Major F.., a German- 
speaking officer who was with me, was informed by me that the 
wine had caused a miracle, my memory had suddenly returned 

I shall never forget his horrified and confused face. 

However, the conference could not be called off any more since 
Lord Simon was already in the adjoining room. I was well enough 
for a conference lasting two and a half hours, even though I 
was still under the influence of a small amount of brain 

A doctor who was detailed to be with me gave me what were 
supposed to be pills against pain and that were supposed to make 
me sleep. They did not have any such effect. Instead of that my 
bladder became closed and for twenty-four hours I could not 
pass any water. The doctor recommended to me to drink lots of 
water but the only result was a further increase of my suffering. 
Then I tried to deceive him by merely making it appear that I 
was taking the tablets and then my bladder could not close any 

If I took only a small part of the pills the cramps which would 
close my bladder would start again. Repeated experiment al- 
ways had the same result. 

When I refused to take any more pills they then apparently 
put the same thing in my food, which I noticed by making further 
experiments. When in order to alleviate my pain, I drank only a 
very little water, they put an excessive amount of salt in my food 
so that thirst would force me to drink. . . . 

Of course, the aim of all this was to cause my nerves to col- 
lapse. The same goes for the extreme restriction in reading ma- 
terial. It was said that any edition of Goethe could not be ob- 
tained in the whole of England. It could not even be borrowed, 
it was said. This same goes for a German history of the world. 
I could not even get a German textbook of higher mathematics 
or medicine. I only received a few English books from time to 
time. However, I was given an English novel which told of a 
little boy of the age of my own boy. 

Every page was to remind me of my child, and I was to be 
reminded that there was hardly any hope of ever seeing him 
again, and if I was to see him again, his father would be crazy 
without knowing it. ... 


In November, 1941, I got in touch with the Swiss envoy in 
London, and asked him to visit me as the representative of the 
protecting power. 

I had hardly mailed the letter when, again, huge quantities of 
brain poison were put in my food to destroy my memory, after 
I had not been given any of this poison for a long while, nor any 
of the poison which closed my bladder. Again I deceived them 
into believing that I had lost my memory. After I appeared to 
have lost my memory completely, the envoy appeared. 

After the visit of the envoy, I was given a daily dose of brain 
poison for eight weeks. After the second failure they apparently 
wished to find out whether I was immune. When it was found 
out unmistakably that I was not losing my memory, they gave it 
up. ... 

Daily they caused my bladder to close and only let it open 
once for a short time in twenty-four hours. Apart from the salt, 
the hottest Indian pepper cuny was put in my food to make 
me thirsty. I suffered indescribably during this period. 

Finally, however, the medicine did not have the desired effect 
any more. Once, when the doctor tried to ask me in a very affable 
manner whether I had had any previous illnesses, I was careful 
enough to tell him that one of my kidneys was slightly out of 
order, and therefore I had recently eaten only slightly salted 
foods or foods without any spice at all. Then they put so much 
salt in my food that even the nurses, after I had made them taste 
some of the food, admitted that the food could not be eaten al- 
though they themselves were used to eating strongly spiced food,. 
All of my complaints were without success. . . . 

For three years, they caused my intestines to close by a medi- 
cine that they put in my food, and it could only be opened by 
a special antidote. At the same time, they put the strongest laxa- 
tives in my food which caused me terrible stomach and abdomi- 
nal cramps several times daily. Only at intervals of several days 
did they make it possible for me to empty my bowels, and after 
the next meals they would close again. 

They refused to give me any pills against pain, but rather 
they gave me pills which did not have any effect. Heat had some 
effect against pain hot-water bottles which were given me on 
the other hand increased the cramps by their weight. They 
claimed that an electric heating pad could not be obtained in 
the whole of England. . . . 


The ill-baked bread which I received regularly and the meat 
that was so tough that I could hardly chew it, peas that were as 
hard as stones, beans which the cook again and again forgot to 
soak before he cooked them, vegetables with mildew and mar- 
garine that was more than rancid, evidently were used to cause 
pain in the stomach and an illness of the bowels. 

The food tasted interchangeably of soap, dishwater, manure, 
fish odor, petrol and carbolic acid. The worst was the secretion 
from camels' and pigs' glands from which even the starchy foods 
were not safe. 

I choked the food down with the greatest willpower as the 
necessary evil to prevent starvation. The doctor, though, brought 
me cartoons from the English press, in which I was feasting at a 
table that was straining under the weight of delicacies. 

As long as a doctor or an officer shared a meal with me dur- 
ing the day, the meal would be slightly better. By the way, 
though, he would be very moderate when taking food, and I 
suspected that he stilled his hunger later from other dishes. The 
baker put bits of plum into the cake by mistake. Meat dishes 
were crammed with bone splinters, and thousands of small gravel 
splinters were put into the vegetables. Probably I was to break 
my teeth on them. . . . 

One hot summer day the air was suddenly filled with the 
smell of corpses, which increased continuously during the next 
few days. Allegedly it was impossible to find the origin. Finally 
I went on reconnaissance myself and found that a carload of big 
fish heads had been thrown into a cesspool which was at a little 
distance from my quarters and they were decaying in the sun.* 

On the 26th of November, 1944, I asked the Swiss envoy to 
request leave of absence for me in Switzerland to restore my 
health, and I washed to be put under the treatment of specialists 

According to a report by [a psychiatrist] either new environ- 
ment or a shock like seeing my family again would restore my 
memory to me. 

I would undertake on my word of honor to return to Eng- 
land any time it was desired. The envoy, who was the successor 
of the previous one, came to see me on the 2Oth of December 
and told me that my leave of absence unfortunately was impos- 
sible because of some fundamental considerations. . . . 
) * This smell apparently came from a nearby farm. 

After the one-and-a-half -year-long pretense of having lost my 
memory, I had to tell myself that the further continuation of this 
would be futile. Thus, I decided to talk quite frankly to [the 
psychiatrist] if only to see how the doctor would react. He could 
not hide his surprise that I had suddenly regained my memory 
to its full extent. 

On the afternoon of October 10, 1945, Hess took his first 
airplane flight since he landed in Scotland. He flew back to 
Germany, making the journey which he had hoped to make 
within hours of his arrival in 1941. He flew to Niirnberg, 
with Dr. Ellis Jones as his companion. 

A military officer armed with a revolver, a sergeant and 
Dr. Jones entered the plane with Hess. At the last moment 
some civilian official decided to come too, and there was no 
seat available for the sergeant. He sat on the floor. 

The plane was small and cold, and the passage bumpy. 
The sergeant was sick first, then the officer, then Hess. When 
they landed at Brussels to refuel, Dr. Jones was the only one 
well enough to eat any lunch. 

'What's wrong with you, old boy?" he asked Hess joc- 
ularly, because Hess had told him many times of his ability 
as a pilot. 

"Excitement," replied Hess. 

He thought that now his time of imprisonment in British 
hands was over, he would be released after his trial. Indeed, 
it might be that in view of his medical history and his at- 
tempts to prove that he had lost his memory, he would be 
declared unfit to stand for trial, and immediately released. 

As the plane circled over the airfield, Hess looked through 
the small perspex window beside his seat and recognized 
Niirnberg. He turned to Dr. Jones. 

""Well, Jones," he said, "I don't know what will happen to 
me, but 111 make this prophecy to you, and time will prove 
it right. Within ten years from now, Britain will agree with 
everything I've said against Communism. That will be the 
enemy then!" 



Niirnberg in 1945 was a city of rains, a tombstone marking 
the death of the Third Reich, a monument to the futility of 
war.. It had been one of Europe's few remaining walled me- 
dieval cities, with gabled houses and lovely historic build- 
ings. But Hitler had set up factories there for his war machine, 
and the R.A.F. had bombed Niirnberg ruthlessly. 

The gabled houses were hollow, empty shells, blackened 
with flame; the cobbled streets were no more than alleys 
through heaps of rubble and twisted, rusting metal. Under 
the mounds of bricks and girders thousands found their only 
grave; the smell of unnumbered dead hung sourly on the 
air. Elsewhere among the ruins the living dwelt like rats in 
home-made caves. 

The massive Palace of Justice, pillared with marble, had 
been largely rebuilt for the trial of such Nazi leaders as had 
not fled or taken their own lives. During the months in which 
their trial dragged on, this Palace became a town within a 
city. Inside its doors the charred reality of Niirnberg could 
temporarily be forgotten, for the Palace of Justice had its 


own cafeteria, a tailor's shop, a barber, a post office, even 
novelty shops selling souvenirs of the trial. A honeycomb of 
offices and partitioned rooms housed 5,000 people guards, 
stenographers, cooks, waiters, signalers, journalists, and the 
lawyers of many nations. The United States prosecuting team 
numbered 600; the British mustered 160. 

The courtroom where the prisoners were to stand trial was 
a paneled, oblong room, entirely unlike any English assize 
court; huge arc lights blazed down from its roof; green velvet 
curtains covered the windows through which no daylight 
came; others were draped across the marble doorways. At 
one end of this long room a stage had been built with benches 
for the prisoners; incongruously, they resembled choir stalls 
in a church. The prisoners wore earphones for interpreta- 

Elsewhere, little glass cages had been set up for interpret- 
ers and for newsreel camera men. Newspaper photographers 
worked in the well of the court, near the American guards 
in their distinctive white helmets and white belts, and the 
Russian prosecutors, all solid, bulky men in green uniforms. 
Beyond them again was a visitors' gallery to hold 150 specta- 
tors, with places for 250 journalists underneath. Their chairs 
were upholstered like theater seats and fitted with earphones. 
On the right arm of each chair was a black dial that could be 
set in four positions for a running translation in Russian, 
French, English, or German. 

The scene was as theatrical as any of Hitler's prewar rallies, 
and its strangeness was matched by the events played out 
against it. 

Hess's counsel, a German lawyer, Dr. von Rohrscheidt, 
asked for what he called "an expert designated by the Medi- 
cal Faculty of the University of Zurich or of Lausanne" to 
pronounce whether Hess was fit to stand trial or not. This 
request was refused. But certainly Hess did not lack examina- 
tion by doctors of distinction. 

Lord Moran, Churchill's own physician; Dr. Rees, con- 


suiting psychiatrist to the British Army and medical director 
of the Tavistock Clinic in London; and Dr. George Riddoch, 
consulting neurologist to the Army and director of neurology 
at the London Hospital, telephoned from London on No- 
vember 19 that they had reached the following conclusions 
about Hess: 

1. There are no relevant physical abnormalities. 

2. His mental state is of a mixed type. He is an unstable man, 
and what is technically called a psychopathic personality. The 
evidence of his illness in the past four years, as presented by 
one of us who has had him under his care in England, indi- 
cates that he has had a delusion of poisoning, and other similar 
paranoid ideas. 

Partly as a reaction to the failure of his mission, these ab- 
normalities got worse, and led to suicidal attempts. 

In addition, he has a marked hysterical tendency, which has 
led to the development of various symptoms, notably a loss of 
memory, which lasted from November, 1943, to June, 1944, and 
which resisted all efforts at treatment. A second loss of memory 
began in February, 1945, and lasted till the present. This am- 
nesic symptom will eventually clear, when circumstances 

3. At the moment he is not insane in the strict sense. His loss 
of memory will not entirely interfere with his comprehension 
of the proceedings, but it will interfere with his ability to make 
his defense, and to understand details of the past, which arise 
in evidence. 

4. We recommend that further evidence should be obtained 
by narco-analysis and that if the Court decides to proceed 
with the Trial, the question should afterwards be reviewed on 
psychiatric grounds.* 

The American psychiatrists declared: 

Rudolf Hess is suffering from hysteria characterized in part 
by loss of memory. The nature of this loss of memory is such 
that it will not interfere with his comprehension of the pro- 
ceedings, but it will interfere with his response to questions 

* The Case of Rudolf Hess. 


relating to his past and will interfere with his understanding 
his defense. 

In addition there is a conscious exaggeration of his loss of 
memory and a tendency to exploit it to protect himself against 

We consider that the existing hysterical behavior which the 
defendant reveals was initiated as a defense against the cir- 
cumstances in which he found himself while in England; that it 
has now become in part habitual and that it will continue as 
long as he remains under the threat of imminent punishment, 
even though it may interfere with his undertaking a more 
normal form of defense. 

It is the unanimous conclusion of the undersigned that 
Rudolf Hess is not insane at the present time in the strict 
sense of the word. 

The Russian medical men announced more bluntly: 

Rudolf Hess, prior to his flight to England, did not suffer from 
any kind of insanity, nor is he now suffering from it. At the 
present time he exhibits hysterical behavior with signs of a con- 
scious-intentional (simulated) character, which does not exon- 
erate him from his responsibility under the indictment.* 

So all doubt as to his ability to stand trial was dispelled. 
The trial of Rudolf Hess and nineteen other Nazi leaders, 
including Goring, Ribbentrop and Admiral Doenitz, opened 
before the International Tribunal at Nurnberg on Tuesday 
morning, November 20, 1945. 

It was to be the longest trial in history, lasting for 217 
days. Three million documents were produced at 403 ses- 
sions; 80,000 feet of film were shown in evidence; 88,000 
affidavits had be.en signed by 150,000 people submitted for 
the defense, plus 158,000 on behalf of organizations. Sixty- 
one witnesses were called for the defense, and thirty-three 
for the prosecution. 

The main charges on which twenty-one prisoners stood 
trial were: 

i. Conspiring or participating as leaders or accomplices to 
commit crimes against peace; committing specific crimes 


against peace by planning, preparing, initiating, and wag- 
ing wars of aggression against a number of states. 

2. War crimes which included murder, deportation for 
slave labor, killing of hostages, and ill-treatment o prisoners 
of war. 

3. Crimes against humanity, which included murder, ex- 
termination, enslavement, deportation, and political, racial, 
and religious persecutions. 

As early as October, 1943, the Allies had set up a War 
Crimes Commission to collect evidence to prepare an in- 
dictment against the Nazi leaders. After the German sur- 
render, legal experts from Britain, America, Russia, and 
France met in London and set up an "International Military 
Tribunal" to try the major war criminals according to inter- 
national law. Their charter laid it down that no war criminal 
could challenge the Tribunal or question the criminality of 
what had been declared criminal. Further, it was a principle 
of the Tribunal's charter that although a crime might have 
been committed on the orders of a superior, this would not 
remove responsibility for the crime, although it might pro- 
vide mitigation. 

The indictment of the Nazis ran to forty-three pages of 
30,000 words, and traced the growth of the Nazi party 
through the years, and the steady subjection of the German 
nation to Hitler's regime. Its horror increased with every 
page. Of 228,000 French political and racial deportees, barely 
one in ten had survived. In Leningrad, 172,000 were shot or 
tortured; in Stalingrad, 40,000. At Maidanek camp alone, half 
a million people had been exterminated; at Auschwitz, four 
million died. 

Four of the twenty-four Nazi leaders escaped the official 
executioners to become their own; Hitler, Goebbels, Ley, 
and Himmler. Hitler and his mistress Eva Braun died to- 
gether in his bunker in the Reich Chancellery in Berlin on 
April 30, 1945, and their bodies had been burned with gaso- 
line. Two days later, Goebbels, the forty-seven-year-old 
master mind of the Nazi propaganda machine, poisoned his 

children, shot his wife, and then killed himself just before 
Berlin fell. Heinrich Himmler, the forty-four-year-old Ge- 
stapo leader and SS chief, poisoned himself during interro- 
gation at Luneberg on May 21, 1945. Martin Bormann, who 
succeeded Hess, and who had been in the Chancellery with 
Hitler in April, 1945, when the Russians entered Berlin, was 
said to have been killed when trying to escape in a tank. 

On October 25, a month before the trial opened, Robert 
Ley, Hitler's former labor leader, hanged himself in his cell. 
He passed into eternity on the end of a chain from the lava- 
tory cistern, with a towel stuffed into his mouth to silence 
his cries. After this, prisoners were not allowed to use towels 
except under supervision. 

Of the twenty-one who actually stood trial Goring, Rib- 
bentrop, Keitel (the Chief of the German High Command), 
Rosenberg (the intellectual high priest of Nazism), Streicher 
(the ruthless prosecutor of the Jews), von Papen, and Hess 
were probably the most important. 

The Germans who had come so close to conquering the 
world now lived with less privacy than beasts in cages. Each 
had a single cell on the ground floor with his name painted 
above the door; he might have been a horse in a stable. Every 
cell contained an iron bed bolted to the wall, and a plain 
table bolted to the floor. A wooden chair, which each prisoner 
was allowed during the day, was removed at dusk. The lights 
in the cells never went out, although they dimmed slightly 
at night. 

Throughout the hours of darkness, the prisoners had to 
sleep facing the door, their hands outside the blankets. At 
intervals of thirty seconds, a guard would peer at each of 
them through a peephole in the door. They were not allowed 
spectacles, ties, suspenders, or shoelaces, to prevent suicide 
attempts. For the same reason, they could not use a needle 
to sew on a button. Every day they were shaved by a German 
prisoner with a safety razor under the scrutiny of an Ameri- 
can guard. 

Each had one suit or his uniform (with medals and rank 

badges removed) for appearance in court. Every day, after 
the hearing, these clothes were taken away to be pressed and 
searched in case somehow a weapon or a poison vial could 
have been passed to one of them. Laundry was done in the 
prison washhouse. 

The men who had dined for years on the finest foods in 
Europe now ate their meals from mess tins with metal spoons. 
For breakfast, they might have oatmeal and biscuits. For 
lunch, soup, a hash of potatoes and cabbage, and coffee; for 
supper, scrambled eggs, carrots, and bread. 

Every morning, as they passed through the bare, bleak 
connecting corridors of the jail to take their places in the 
courtroom, they were screened from the view of other prison- 
ers. For the first few weeks of the trial they had to pass an 
open space. One day an SS prisoner threw a knife at them; 
thereafter, this space was boarded up. At the end of the cor- 
ridor from the cells the prisoners stepped into a steel lift to 
go up to the courtroom on the second floor. The lift was 
divided into separate compartments to minimize the chances 
of their passing anything to each other on their brief journey. 

Whenever the jail commander, an American colonel, Bur- 
ton C. Andrus, or any Allied officer or civilian entered a cell, 
the prisoner inside had to rise and remain standing at atten- 
tion until ordered to do otherwise. Every morning each pris- 
oner swept out his own cell. Their routine job was cleaning 
dustbins. As they shambled around the exercise yard out- 
side, they had to maintain a space of at least ten yards be- 
tween them. They were forbidden to pick up anything from 
the ground. 

Punishment for disobeying these orders was a loss of privi- 
leges, which included the most precious right of all: the 
chance to exchange the gloom of a cell each day for a walk 
under guard around the dingy courtyard; the chance to 
breathe fresh air under a square of open autumn sky. 

Partly to prevent the onset of melancholia and also to 
keep them alert, each prisoner faced a number of regular 
appointments every day; visits from the padre, the doctor, 


the barber. They were allowed selected books to read, pen- 
cils and paper if they wanted to write, even a small monthly 
ration of tobacco. A Lutheran Evangelic parson and a Ro- 
man Catholic priest ministered to their spiritual needs in a 
small chapel with an improvised altar. Most prisoners at- 
tended a service at one time or another. Hess did not. He 
claimed that he was a Christian but not a churchgoer; he 
said he refused to go in case people might say he was afraid 
of death. 

The four and a half years that Hess had spent under guard 
in Britain had left their mark on his appearance. His face was 
cadaverous; his once thick hair was thinning, and the dark, 
intense eyes looked dull under their bushy brows. Hess 
weighed less than 140 pounds, and in a sports coat bought 
in Abergavenny and not too good a fit, he looked little like 
the spruce, commanding figure who had parachuted down 
to Eaglesham in 1941. Indeed, all the defendants looked 
like caricatures of the men they had once been. Goring, 
much thinner, and pasty, with puffy eyes, sat in the blue- 
gray uniform he had once filled so well, now stripped of 
all the medal ribbons. Hess's face was the color of clay and 
his eyes more deepset and sunken than ever. Ribbentrop, 
in a brown suit, a light brown tie, and a khaki shirt, seemed 
unrecognizable as the former German Ambassador who had 
given the Nazi salute in London on so many occasions. The 
aristocratic von Papen, in a dark pin-striped blue suit, with 
a clean white handkerchief in his breast pocket, was easily 
the best-dressed prisoner; von Schirach, the Nazi youth 
leader, possibly the best-looking. 

On the morning of November 21, Goring, who had pre- 
pared notes of a political statement he wished to deliver 
through the medium of the court, stood up. 

"Before I answer the question of whether or not I am 
guilty/' he began. The President, Lord Justice Lawrence, son 
of a Lord Chief Justice, interrupted him. Goring was re- 
minded that he was entitled to make no statement, only to 


plead guilty or not guilty. For a moment Goring hesitated, 
then he said, "Not guilty/' 

The trial had begun and the Lord Justice Lawrence had 
exerted his authority. From then on this short, thick-set man 
dominated proceedings from the bench he shared with Sir 
Norman Birkett now Lord Birkett and the other Allied 
members of the Tribunal. Lord Lawrence handled witnesses 
with patience and dignity, but he could challenge counsel 
with a firm rasping voice when the occasion arose. 

The British dominated the prosecution. Sir Hartley Shaw- 
cross now Lord Shawcross led the British team, but as 
Attorney-General in the Socialist Government, he also had 
political and other commitments in Britain. Sir David Max- 
well Fyfe now Lord Kilmuir conducted his cross-exami- 
nation brilliantly and soon became the counsel most feared 
by the prisoners. 

Hess appeared curiously remote from the proceedings, as 
though he had no part of them. Whereas the other Nazi 
leaders seemed tense and nervous, as though clearly aware 
of their fate, Hess gazed around him with the bland im- 
perviousness of a man not quite certain why he was there 
at all, and what all this array of judges and lawyers had to 
do with him. 

He still kept up the pretense that he had lost his memory. 
To Allied interrogators who showed Hess photographs of 
Hitler, Goring and others of his Nazi colleagues, he simply 
repeated, "I remember nothing. I cannot remember." 

Even when brought face to face with Goring and frranz 
von Papen, he insisted that he did not recognize them. He 
still claimed that he was being poisoned, and refused to eat 
food which was not first tasted by someone else in his pres- 

His counsel, Dr. von Rohrscheidt, resolutely maintained 
that his client was not fit to stand trial. "He doesn't seem 
to remember very much about his wife and son," he ex- 
plained. "He hasn't even asked to see them." 

This was quite true, but it had nothing to do with his 
sanity. Hess refused to see them then and has still not 
seen them because, as he explains in letters to his wife, he 
has conditioned himself to his life as a prisoner. 

Should he see his wife and son again for the brief period 
that all visitors are allowed to spend with prisoners, then the 
protective shell he has so carefully and painfully built 
around himself would be destroyed forever. The cocoon of 
isolation would be ruined, and so would his spirit. The pros- 
pect of further imprisonment would be unbearable. 

As the trial progressed, the ex-Deputy Fiihrer behaved 
in a way intensely annoying to Goring and the other Nazi 
leaders, who thought that their trial should be conducted 
in the atmosphere of dignity that befitted their position as 
world figures. 

On the first day, Hess entirely ignored his surroundings 
and the people around judges, counsel, even his com- 
panions in the dock. He sat back on his bench, earphones 
switched off, eyes closed, apparently asleep. He showed a 
small flicker of interest for a few moments on the second day 
when a diagram explaining the organization of the Nazi 
party was exhibited with his own name prominent. Then he 
lapsed once more into apathy. 

On the morning of the third day, Hess brought a novel 
into the dock with him. For much of the trial he sat reading, 
despite a rebuke from Goring, who told him, "You are dis- 
gracing us." Even when his own name was under discussion, 
Hess showed no interest. He simply read on, laying his book 
aside from time to time, either to close his eyes or to stare 
vacantly into the public galleries. 

His counsel explained his client's deliberate indifference. 
"He is paying no attention to the proceedings because he is 
convinced that there will be a death sentence for all the 
Nazi party leaders," Rohrscheidt explained. "He has recon- 
ciled himself to it, preferring to amuse himself by reading/' 

On November 30, Hess found himself alone in the lime- 
light. The early part of the day had been taken up with a 


special showing of a film that revealed the horrors of Nazi 
concentration camps. Even the defendants seemed moved 
by this fearful evidence. Only Hess continued to absorb him- 
self in his reading, never once glancing at the screen. 

Then his counsel rose to speak. "I am of the opinion that 
the defendant is not capable of pleading," he said. "I there- 
fore consider it my duty and I feel forced to make the fol- 
lowing application: 

"Firstly, I should ask that the proceedings against Hess be 
temporarily quashed. Secondly, in case his inability to plead 
should be admitted by the Tribunal, I should request the 
Tribunal not to carry out the proceedings if the defendant 
is not there. But in case the Tribunal should consider Hess 
fit to plead, I should ask for an arbitral expert opinion in 
order to decide the question. 

"Before I come to the reasons for my application, I should 
like to say on behalf of the defendant that he, Hess himself, 
thinks he is fit to plead and would like to tell the court so 
himself. . . ." 

He then referred to the medical opinions already sub- 
mitted to the Tribunal, stressing his reduced capacity to de- 
fend himself and to face a witness and to understand the 
evidence. He quoted the medical evidence at some length, 
then concluded, "If the defendant is not capable of plead- 
ing, incapable of defending himself, as medical opinion says, 
and if this state is likely to last for a long time, this would 
be a condition for temporary suspension of the proceedings 
against him." 

"I want to ask you one question," the President said. "Is 
it not consistent with all the medical opinions that the de- 
fendant is capable of understanding the course of the pro- 
ceedings, and that the only illness from which he is suffer- 
ing is his forgetfulness about what happened before he flew 
to England?" 

Dr. von Rohrscheidt answered, "Mr. President, it is true 
that the experts say that the defendant Hess is capable of 
following the proceedings. But they emphasize, on the other 


hand, that the defendant is not capable of defending him- 
self. . . r 

General Roman Rudenko, the chief Russian prosecutor, 
was next to speak, "In connection with the statement made 
by the defense, and as a result of the doctor's opinion, I am 
inclined to say the following," he said. "The condition of 
Hess was examined by experts. These experts appointed by 
the Tribunal have agreed that Hess is sane and can answer 
for his actions. The Chief Prosecutors have discussed the 
results of this according to the orders of the Tribunal. . . . 
We have no questions and doubts about the Commission's 
report. We are of opinion that Hess can be tried. . . ." 

Sir David Maxwell-Fyfe, the British Deputy Chief Prose- 
cutor then contributed a clarification of the legal aspects of 
the question: "May it please the Tribunal: It has been sug- 
gested that I might say just a word, and as shortly as the 
Tribunal desire, as to the legal conceptions which govern 
the position with which the Tribunal and this defendant are 
placed at the present time. 

"The question before the Tribunal is whether this de- 
fendant is able to plead to the indictment and should be 
tried at the present time. If I might very briefly refer the 
Tribunal to the short passages in the report, which I submit 
are relevant, it might be useful at the present time." He went 
on to quote from the medical testimony those passages deal- 
ing with the clarity of Hess's intelligence on the one hand, 
and his amnesia on the other. 

"In these circumstances," he concluded, "the question in 
English law, and I respectfully submit that to the considera- 
tion of the Tribunal as being representative of natural jus- 
tice in this regard, is in deciding whether the defendant be 
insane or not, and the time which is relevant for the deciding 
of that issue is at the date of the arraignment and not at 
any prior time. 

"Different views have been expressed as to the party on 
whom the onus of proof lies in that issue, but the latter, and 
logically the better, view is that the onus is on the defendant, 

because it is always presumed that a person is sane until the 
contrary is proved. . . . 

"I submit he should be tried." 

The long and convoluted argument went on, to the ob- 
vious amusement of Hess, who sat grinning at the various 
theories put forward. Finally, the President of the court ad- 
dressed his counsel. 

"Dr. von Rohrscheidt," he said, "the Tribunal would like, 
if you consider it proper, that the defendant Hess should 
state what his views on this question are." 

Dr. von Rohrscheidt replied, "As his defense counsel, I 
have certainly nothing to say against it, and I think it would 
be the defendant's own wish, and the Tribunal would then 
be in a position to judge what mental state the defendant 
is in. He can speak as to whether he considers himself fit to 
plead from where he is." 

At these words a startling change occurred in Hess's atti- 
tude. With something of the old confidence he had displayed 
at Nazi party rallies, he rose from his seat and strode pur- 
posefully to the microphone placed in the well of the court. 
Plucking an old envelope from his jacket pocket, he began 
to read from some notes he had scribbled on it. 

"Mr. President, I would like to say this: At the beginning 
of the trial of this afternoon's proceedings I gave my defense 
counsel a note that I am of the opinion that these proceed- 
ings could be shortened if one would allow me to speak my- 
self. What I say is as follows: 

"In order to anticipate any possibility of my being de- 
clared incapable of pleading, although I am willing to take 
part in the rest of the proceedings with the rest of them, I 
would like to give the Tribunal the following declaration, 
although I originally intended not to make this declaration 
until a later point in the proceedings: 

"My memory is in order. The reasons why I simulated 
loss of memory were tactical. In fact, it is only that my 
capacity for concentration is slightly reduced. But in conse- 
quence of that, my capacity to follow the trial, my capacity 


to defend myself, to put questions to witnesses or even to 
answer questions these, my capacities, are not influenced 
by that. 

"I emphasize the fact that I bear the full responsibility 
for everything that I have done or signed as signatory or 
cosignatory. My attitude in principle that the Tribunal is 
not competent is not affected by the statement I have just 

"Hitherto in conversation with my official defense counsel 
I have maintained my loss of memory. He was, therefore, in 
good faith when he asserted I lost my memory." 

There was only one answer for the President to give. "The 
trial is adjourned," he said. 

Crumpling the envelope back into his pocket, Hess re- 
turned to his seat near the corner of the dock and sat there, 
smiling ironically, as tumult and uproar broke out around 
him. He was easily the most composed man in the entire 

Later and privately, Rohrscheidt insisted that his client 
was not entirely sane. "I still claim that Hess isn't fit to de- 
fend himself," he said. "This one statement, which caught 
everyone by surprise, doesn't suddenly restore him to nor- 

This was not in accordance with his client's own opinion. 
After declaring that he had made "the psychiatrists of five 
nations look ridiculous," Hess added modestly that it was all 
really of no importance, as he expected to be executed any- 

That night, Major Douglas Kelley, the American psy- 
chiatrist in Number g, saw Hess. Later, in the course of a 
report, he noted that "He was elated over the impression 
he had created in the courtroom and stated that his memory 
was now in good shape. He claimed that his memory now 
extended throughout his entire life, but on persistent ques- 
tioning indicated that there were still a number of things 
on which he was not quite clear and for which his memory 
was still faulty. 


"The reaction of his fellow prisoners was not so enthusias- 
tic. Goring was amazed and upset, and while he enjoyed 
the frustration of the Court, demonstrated considerable re- 
sentment that he had been so completely fooled. 

"Schirach * felt that such behavior was not the action of a 
normal man, and while he enjoyed Hess's jest upon the 
world, felt that it was not a gesture expected of a good Ger- 
man whose position was as important as that of Hess. 

"Ribbentrop, upon learning the news, was dumfounded, 
and was hardly able to speak when told Hess's statement, 
and merely kept repeating, Hess? You mean Hess? The 
Hess we have here? He said that?' Ribbentrop became quite 
agitated and seemed to feel such action was not possible. He 
stated, 'But Hess did not know me. I looked at him. I talked 
to him. Obviously he did not know me. It is just not possible. 
Nobody could fool me like that.* 

"Streicher's comment, as usual, was direct and blunt: *If 
you ask me, I think Hess's behavior was a shame. It reflects 
on the dignity of the German people. . . .' " f 

Hess was also interviewed by Dr. G. M. Gilbert, the Amer- 
ican psychiatrist, who wrote, "Two days after his dramatic 
'recovery' I broached the subject of Hitler's attitude towards 
his mental state and flight to England, merely asking him if 
he knew what Hitler had said and done about it at the time. 

"Hess bristled and retorted, *I don't know what he said 
and I don't want to know! It doesn't interest me!' " f 

Four days after Hess's dramatic avowal, the Tribunal an- 
nounced its decision on the question of his sanity. 

Lord Justice Lawrence, the President, said, "The Tribunal 
has considered the very full medical reports, which have 
been made on the condition of the defendant Hess, and has 
come to the conclusion that no ground whatever exists for 
a further examination to be ordered 

"The Tribunal is of the opinion that the defendant Hess is 

* Baldur von Schirach, the Hitler Youth leader and Gauleiter of Vienna 
from 1940-1945. 

t The Case of Rudolf Hess. 


capable of standing his trial at the present time, and 
the motion of the counsel for the defense is therefore de- 

So the legend of Hess's insanity, started by Hitler at Hess's 
own suggestion, followed up by Churchill to minimize the 
importance of his mission, was finally killed. 

On February 7, 1946, the Allies began their case against 
the former Deputy Fiihrer. 

Mr. Mervyn Griffith Jones, opening the British case, said 
that originally he had intended to prove Hess's guilt by 
means of captured documents showing his individual re- 
sponsibility, but the crimes were organized on such a scale 
that "everyone in authority must have known of them." He 
declared that Hess was "deeply involved" in the preparation 
of aggression upon Austria and Czechoslovakia, and he had 
been concerned in sending the Waffen S.S. to Poland, where 
they destroyed the Warsaw ghetto. 

Mr. Griffith Jones said that among the many documents 
bearing Hess's signature which had been discovered in Ger- 
many were several providing penalties for offenses against 
the state (Third Reich), the Nurnberg decrees against the 
Jews, and the law extending these decrees to Austria. Also, 
Hess was supreme head of the Organization of Germans 
Abroad (AO), which formed the basis of the Nazi fifth 

Mr. Griffith Jones said that he had in his hand a copy of 
the statement Mr. Anthony Eden made to Parliament on 
September 22, 1943, when the Foreign Secretary said that 
Hess claimed to have come "on a mission of humanity." Hess 
had "authoritatively" put forward six proposals which had 
all the appearance of coming direct from the Fiihrer, and 
he had added a "savage threat" that if, after a successful in- 
vasion of Britain, the Churchill Government carried out its 
plan to continue the fight from Canada, the people of Britain 
would be deliberately starved to death. 

Mr. Griffith Jones alleged that at the time Hess put for- 
ward these proposals he already knew of the planned Action 
Barbarossa the pending German invasion of Russia, 


The first document referred to in detail was the Duke of 
Hamilton's report of his interview with Hess. 

Mr. Griffith Jones also produced an official record of a 
conversation between Ribbentrop and Mussolini in Rome on 
May 13, 1941, three days after Hess's flight to Britain. It 
stated that Ribbentrop said the Fiihrer had sent him to the 
Duce to inform him about the Hess affair. The Fiihrer had 
been taken completely aback by Hess's action. Ribbentrop 
described it as "the action of a lunatic" and said that Hitler 
had been "deeply shaken." The Fiihrer had stripped Hess 
of his rank and had said that he would have him shot if he 
returned to Germany. 

Mr. Griffith Jones added how Ribbentrop had told Mus- 
solini that Hess had been suffering for a long time from 
bilious complaints and had fallen into the hands of "mag- 
netists and nature-cure doctors." Ribbentrop said Hess had 
not acted from any lack of faithfulness to the Fiihrer., and 
with this Mussolini agreed. 

Referring to Hess's flight to Britain, Griffith Jones said, 
"It is difficult to see how he could plan it, practice it for 
months, and make three unsuccessful attempts without any- 
body knowing. But at any rate we can see what Ribbentrop 
was saying to his Italian ally three days later." Then, turn- 
ing to face Ribbentrop, he said with quiet but deadly effect, 
"Of course, we all know that Ribbentrop is a liar." 

Dr. Gilbert, studying Hess's mental condition, watched 
him in court while Mr. Griffith Jones was speaking. 

Later he wrote: 

The prosecutor's scorn was shared by even the defendants, 
who felt partly amused and partly disgraced by the naive and 
presumptuous gesture by Hess in offering the British peace on his 
terms. During the presentation, Goring repeatedly turned to 
Hess and asked him if he had really said that. Hess nodded that 
he had. 

At the end of the session, Goring, hardly able to control his 
own scorn at Hess's attempt to meddle in diplomacy, slapped him 
on the back in mock congratulation and encouragement for a 
good try. 

Hess's continued apparent lack of interest in the proceed- 
ings did not necessarily mean a relapse to the condition he 
had simulated at the opening of the trial, but as the time 
drew near for his defense, speculation was intense as to 
whether he would actually take the stand. 

Shortly before the day his counsel, Dr. von Rohrscheidt, 
was due to speak in Hess's defense, he broke his leg. As a 
result, he was unable to appear in court, and another lawyer 
now enters this strange story: Dr. Alfred Seidl. 

For five years during the war, Seidl had been a private 
soldier (First Class) with the infantry stationed in Bavaria. 
After the war, he joined the office of a successful Munich 
lawyer, Dr. Sauter. 

In October, 1945, the American authorities offered Sauter 
the opportunity of defending some of the Nazi leaders at 
Nurnberg. At first Sauter declined the assignment. Then, 
having reconsidered the matter, he changed his mind and 
sent Seidl to Nurnberg to discover whether the briefs could 
still be obtained. Seidl was thus the first defense counsel to 
see the prisoners and to take their statements and generally 
prepare the way for his senior colleagues. 

One of the first defendants he met was Dr. Hans Frank, 
the former Governor General of German-occupied concen- 
tration camps, who was responsible for sending laborers back 
to Germany. Before the war Frank had been a lawyer prac- 
ticing in Munich, and he appeared pleased to meet Seidl, 
and asked him to take over his defense. 

It was thus agreed that while Sauter would defend Baldur 
von Schirach and Walter Funk, Hitler's Minister of Eco- 
nomics and President of the Reichsbank, Seidl would de- 
fend Dr. Frank. When Dr. von Rohrscheidt broke his leg, 
leaving Hess without a lawyer, the former Deputy Fuhrer 
asked Seidl to take over his defense as well. Seidl agreed. 

Physically, Seidl was the antithesis of Hess. The defendant 
was tall and gaunt, and moody, the defender a plump, short, 
bouncing man with irrepressible good humor and vivacity. 
They got on well together. 


Looking back on those days, Seidl insists that Hess was 
completely sane in the normally accepted sense of the word, 
but agrees that he was a strange man, given to long and 
brooding silences. But then the reception accorded to his 
peace proposals in Britain, and the four years he had spent 
in Mytchett and Abergavenny, had not done anything to 
improve this side of his character. 

When Seidl opened the defense for him on March 22, 
Hess was still facing the original four charges: war crimes, 
crimes against humanity, conspiracy, and crimes against 

Seidl felt confident that his client would be acquitted of 
war crimes and crimes against humanity, if only because 
Hess had not been in Germany while the wartime barbarities 
against Jews and occupied countries had been carried out. 

The charges that worried him were those of conspiracy 
and crimes against peace, for clearly, as one of the inner 
caucus of the Nazi party, Hess had obviously discussed with 
Hitler the events that led to war, and until May, 1941, had 
been privy to the Fiihrer's decisions. There thus seemed 
little chance that Hess would be acquitted on these charges, 
but Seidl, a most resourceful lawyer, was not a man to sur- 
render easily. 

He believed that if he could find some way of discredit- 
ing the court, if he could somehow show that there had also 
been any conspiracy against peace on the part of one or 
more of the four powers Britain, the United States, France, 
and Russia who were judging the German defendants, 
then, on a point of law, Hess might yet go free. For days he 
puzzled over this problem. Then, quite unexpectedly, he 
found the loophole he was seeking. 

One afternoon, as he was leaving for home after a long 
and unrewarding discussion with his client, he heard Goring 
and Ribbentrop discussing their chances and the probable 
outcome of the trials* 

Ribbentrop was explaining that when he had been in 
Moscow in August, 1939, to arrange the German-Soviet 


treaty, he and Molotov, the Soviet Foreign Minister, had 
also signed a secret treaty, word o which had never been 
made public. 

In brief, this secret agreement defined "spheres of interest" 
in the event of any war. On a map of Europe the Foreign 
Minister had drawn a line along the Vistula and the Bug, 
two rivers which divide Poland. Then they had agreed that, 
should war come, the territories to the west of these rivers 
would become a German "sphere of interest/' and those to 
the east would be under Russian control 

Ribbentrop added conversationally to Goring that the 
Russians had told him since his arrest that it would be so 
he said "easier" for him if he did not mention the matter 
of this secret agreement in court. 

At once, Seidl realized the fearful significance of this con- 
versation, and how it might be turned to his client's ad- 
vantage. After the military action of Germany and Russia 
against Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia in June, 1940, the 
German Reichsregierung and the Soviet government had 
vehemently denied that they had concluded any other po- 
litical agreement apart from the treaty concerning bound- 
aries, on August 23, 1939, and one of mutual friendship 
signed on September 20. Rumors had nevertheless persisted 
that another secret agreement had also been reached. Now 
these suspicions seemed justified. 

If Seidl could substantiate this conversation, then Stalin 
was as guilty of crimes against peace and conspiracy as any 
of the Nazis in the dock. In Seidl's argument the Russian 
leader, or his representatives, could not be a judge as well 
as a defendant. 

Seidl began an immediate search for anyone who had ac- 
companied Ribbentrop to this meeting in Moscow seven 
years earlier, to discuss whether there had been an addi- 
tional and secret agreement. 

It seemed a difficult, almost hopeless, task. Germany was 
a ruined country, laid waste by war, on the brink of famine. 
Hundreds of thousands were homeless, postal communica- 

tions were chaotic, railway journeys almost impossible. In 
these circumstances it seemed unlikely that he would be suc- 
cessful, but Seidl was fortunate. 

He located a brother lawyer, Dr. Friedrich Gaus, who had 
been Undersecretary of State and Ambassador in the For- 
eign Office and who, in this capacity, had accompanied 
Ribbentrop on his journey to Moscow in 1939. 

Was there such a secret pact? Seidl asked him. 

Yes, replied Gaus. He remembered it clearly. 

Where could a copy of it be found now? 

Gaus had no idea, but he told Seidl that to the best of his 
knowledge, all important files of the German Foreign Office 
had been microfilmed at the end of the war and surrendered 
to officials of the United States, 

Seidl persevered. He mentioned his search to everyone 
he met, and brought up the subject deliberately when in the 
presence of American officers. 

As the days passed without bringing any result, his cheer- 
ful round face concealed the worry he felt about the ap- 
parent hopelessness of this search. And then one evening 
as he was leaving the court, his endeavors were unexpect- 
edly and mysteriously rewarded. An American in officer's 
uniform approached him. 

"Are you Alfred Seidl?" he asked in German. Seidl nodded. 

The American introduced himself, and handed him a plain 
sealed envelope that bore no name or address. "I think 
there is something here that you've been looking for," he 

Seidl was puzzled, but ripped open the envelope. It con- 
tained a typed copy of an agreement apparently reached 
between Molotov and Ribbentrop in Moscow, 1939. Seidl 
looked up in amazement to ask the American where he had 
found this, but the man had disappeared. 

That night Seidl read the document through a number of 
times. It was not a photostat, and it bore no seals or other 
marks of authenticity. Was it possible that the paper was a 
fake, a forgery? Seidl again sought out Dr. Gaus and showed 


it to him. So far as Dr. Gaus could recollect, it seemed a true 
copy of the same pact, He willingly signed an affidavit * ex- 
plaining what had happened in Moscow in 1939, and the 
terms and the implications of this pact. 

Meanwhile, the case went on. Throughout the hearing, 
Hess kept repeating to Seidl that he did not acknowledge the 
authority of the court to try him. Seidl advised his client that 
he should not go into the witness stand. Also, he should be- 
have in such a way that no one would have any doubt as to 
his feelings about the court's authority. 

Hess should continue to sit and read a novel and look 
bored with the proceedings, and yawn and even laugh out 
loud if he reached an amusing passage in his book. Seidl 
reasoned that this behavior would underline his own plea to 
show that the court was not fit to try Hess. 

When the defense opened on March 22, Dr. Seidl de- 
clared, "The defendant Hess contests the jurisdiction of the 
Tribunal in so far as other than war crimes proper are the 
subject of the trial. However, he specifically assumes full re- 
sponsibility for all laws or decrees which he has signed. 

"Furthermore, he assumes responsibility for all orders and 
directives which he, in his capacity as Deputy Fiihrer and 
Minister of the Reich, has issued. For these reasons he does 
not desire to be defended against any charges which refer 
to the internal affairs of Germany Sovereign State." 

Here Hess, who for once had shown some interest in the 
proceedings, jumped to his feet and shouted angrily, "I don't 
want to be defended I accept responsibility for what I have 

Unperturbed by this interruption, Dr. Seidl continued, 
This applies, among other things, to the motives which 
caused Rudolf Hess to fly to England and to the purposes 

for which he was doing it I shall today only read the 

affidavit of the witness Hildegard FatLf" The affidavit read 
as follows: 

* See Appendix for full translation. 

f Secretary to Rudolf Hess for many years. 

Having been advised of the consequences of a false affidavit, 
I declare the following which is to be submitted to the Interna- 
tional Military Tribunal in Niirnberg under oath. 

I was employed as private secretary of the Fiihrer's Deputy, 
Rudolf Hess, in Munich, from 17 October, 1933, until his flight 
to England on May 10, 1941. 

Beginning in the summer of 1940 I cannot remember the 
exact time I had, by order of Hess, to obtain secret weather 
reports about weather conditions over the British Isles and the 
North Sea, and to forward them to Hess. I received the reports 
from a Captain Busch. In part I also received reports from 
Fraulein Sperr, the secretary of Hess, with his liaison staff in 

Hess left a letter behind on his departure by air for England, 
which was handed to the Fiihrer at a time when Hess had al- 
ready landed in England. I read a copy of this letter. The letter 
began with words like this: "My Fuhrer, when you receive this 
letter, I shall be in England." 

I do not remember the exact wording of the letter. . . . 

I can, however, state definitely that no word was mentioned 
about the Soviet Union or about the idea that a peace treaty 
should be concluded with England in order to have the rear free 
on another front. If this had been discussed in the letter, it cer- 
tainly would have been impressed upon my memory. 

From the content of the letter the definite impression was to 
be gained that Hess undertook this extraordinary flight in order 
to prevent further bloodshed, and in order to create favorable 
conditions for the conclusion of a peace. . . . 

March 24 the ninetieth day on which the defendants had 
trooped in and sat down like docile schoolboys upon the 
hard wooden benches was taken up by Dr. Seidl in reading 
out Hess's own account of his interview with Lord Simon. 

The trial dragged on. Hess read his novel, sometimes 
grinning widely from the dock. At other times he occupied 
his time by sending a stream of scribbled messages to Dr. 

On March 30, Ribbentrop, to his surprise, was questioned 
about the secret agreement. He grudgingly admitted its 


existence. "If war broke out/* he said, "occupation of those 
zones was to be undertaken by Germany and Russia. At that 
time I heard expressions from both Stalin and Hitler that 
Polish and other territories thus delineated were regions 
which both sides had lost in an unfortunate war." 

No more details were allowed to be presented, but even 
so the significance of this pact did not seem to be realized 
until Dr. Seidl rose to speak. 

Dr. Seidl said that if the court would not allow full de- 
tails of the pact to be known, he would demand that 
Molotov, Russia's Foreign Minister, should be called as a 
witness. He declared that this would bring "at least one of 
the prosecuting nations into the conspiracy that led to the 
war." He did not act on this threat, however, for he was not 
allowed to call any witness on the document. 

Later, Baron von Weizsacker, formerly Secretary of State 
in the German Foreign Office, was put in the box, and Seidl 
pursued the matter by offering to put a copy of the pact to 
him. He explained that it had been handed to him by "an 
Allied officer whose name cannot be divulged/' 

This move instantly brought Gen. Roman Rudenko, the 
Soviet prosecutor, to his feet. He clearly had no idea that a 
copy of the secret agreement was in existence. Perhaps he 
did not know that there had been a secret agreement, but, 
as an experienced lawyer, he immediately recognized the 
political dynamite in Seidl's hands. He objected most 
strongly to any mention of the document. The court was in- 
vestigating the case of the major German war criminals, he 
said, and not the foreign policy of the Allies, and that "this 
anonymous document can have no probative value." 

Despite this, after some discussion among the judges, 
Weizsacker was allowed to speak of the affair from his 
memory, which provided the most informative summary of 
the pact so far heard. 

This secret protocol of extensive scope, he confirmed, drew 
a line of demarcation between areas which in given circum- 


stances would be "of interest" to the Soviet Union, and those 
which would belong to the German sphere of interest. 

In the Soviet sphere were included Finland, Estonia, 
Latvia, the eastern parts of Poland, and certain areas of 
Roumania; everything west of that line was left to Germany. 
Later, in September or October, he continued, amendments 
were agreed upon by which Lithuania or the greater part of 
it was transferred to the Soviet sphere, and the line of de- 
marcation in Poland was moved considerably to the west. 

Explicitly or implicitly, the secret agreement was to create 
a completely new order in Poland, and when it came into 
operation this line of demarcation was followed closely. 

In answer to Lord Justice Lawrence, the witness stated 
that he had kept a photostat copy of the pact in his personal 
safe, and that he would have no hesitation in recognizing it 
if it were put to him. This seemed a chance for Seidl, but 
again he was refused permission to display his evidence. 

After a long adjournment, the President declared that the 
contents of the secret pact had been confirmed "from sev- 
eral sources," but since the origin of the present document 
was unknown, it would not be put to the witness. 

Seidl had made his point but he had not won his case. 

On July 5, he opened the final defense speech for Hess. 
Seven times Lord Justice Lawrence rebuked him for trying 
to claim that the Treaty of Versailles had been illegal and 
unjust. Finally, the Tribunal adjourned for two hours and 
asked him to submit a new pleading. Seidl did so. 

"I come now to the event which was to conclude the po- 
litical career of the defendant Rudolf Hess, his flight to Eng- 
land on May 10, 1941," he began. "For several reasons, this 
undertaking is of considerable importance in this trial as evi- 
dence. As is shown by the presentation of the evidence, the 
defendant Rudolf Hess had made the decision for this flight 
as early as June, 1940 that is, immediately after the sur- 
render of France 

"When the defendant Hess was led before the Duke of 


Hamilton on the day after his landing, he declared to the 
latter, 1 come on a mission of humanity/ During the con- 
versation which the defendant had with Mr. Kirkpatrick of 
the Foreign Office on the 13th, i4th, 15th of May, he ex- 
plained to him in detail the motives which had induced him 
to take this extraordinary step. At the same time, he informed 
him of the conditions under which Hitler would be pre- 
pared to make peace. 

"On July 9, a conversation took place between Rudolf 
Hess and Lord Simon, who interviewed him on behalf of the 

British Government It is shown by this document [a 

record of the conversation] that the motive for this extraor- 
dinary flight was the intention to avoid further bloodshed 
and to create favorable conditions for the opening of peace 

"During the course of this conversation, the defendant 
Hess handed a document to Lord Simon which stated the 
four conditions under which Hitler would have been pre- 
pared at that time to conclude peace with England. The 
conditions were: 

"i. In order to prevent future wars between the Axis 
and England, a delimitation of sphere of interests is pro- 
posed. The sphere of interest of the Axis Powers is to be 
Europe, and that of England its colonial Empire. 
"2, Return of German colonies. 

"3. Indemnification of German nationals who were 
domiciled prior to or during the war in the British Em- 
pire, and who suffered damage to life or property because 
of measures taken by a government in the Empire or 
through incidents such as pillage, riots, etc. Indemnifica- 
tion to British nationals on the same basis in Germany. 
"4. Conclusion of an armistice and peace treaty with 
Italy at the same time. 

"Rudolf Hess explained to Mr. Kirkpatrick, as well as to 
Lord Simon, that such were the terms on which Hitler was 
prepared to make peace with Great Britain. Hitler had un- 

dergone no further change since completion of the campaign 
against France. 

"There are no indications of any kind why this account 
of the defendant should not appear plausible. On the con- 
trary, it is fully in harmony with many statements which 
Hitler himself had made concerning relations between Ger- 
many and England. 

"In addition to that, the defendants Goring and Ribben- 
trop likewise confirmed while in the witness box that the 
terms which Hess disclosed to Lord Simon corresponded 
completely with Hitler's views. 

"The defendant Hess himself does not wish to have any 
favorable conclusions drawn for him on the course of this 
trial from this flight and from the intentions connected with 
it. His influence on the course of events within the develop- 
ment of the war as a whole ceased, at the latest, with his 
flight to England. 

"That it was his intention thus to protect Germany's rear 
in its planned campaign against the Soviet Union ... is con- 
tradicted by the fact that the defendant Hess had already 
decided on the flight as early as June, 1940, in other words, 
at a time when no one in Germany thought of a campaign 
against the Soviet Union. . . . 

"Had the defendant Rudolf Hess been successful in estab- 
lishing the necessary conditions for an armistice and peace 
negotiations in England, the political and military situation 
in Europe would have been so fundamentally changed that 
under these modified conditions an attack by the Soviet 
Union on Germany would have appeared most unlikely, and 
the apprehensions entertained by Hitler would have become 

"The conclusion must be drawn that the criminal responsi- 
bility of the defendant Hess will in any case be confined to 
acts which were committed prior to the flight to England. 1 " 

On August 31, the 2i6th day of the trial, more than nine 
months after he had first been led into the courtroom, Rudolf 

Hess was called to make a last speech in his own defense be- 
fore the judges pronounced sentence. 

PRESIDENT: "I call on the defendant Rudolf Hess." 

HESS: "First of all, I should like to make a request 

to the High Tribunal that I may remain seated because of 
my state of health." 

PRESIDENT: "Certainly." 

HESS: "Some of my comrades here can confirm the 

fact that at the beginning of the proceedings I predicted the 

1. Witnesses would appear who, under oath, would 
make untrue statements and, at the same time, would be 
able to create an impression of absolute reliability, and 
would be highly thought of. 

2. It was to be reckoned with that the Tribunal would 
receive affidavits containing untrue statements. 

3. The defendants would be astonished and surprised by 
some German witnesses. 

4. Some of the defendants would act rather strangely. 
They would make shameless utterances about the Fiihrer, 
they would incriminate each other, and wrongly. Perhaps 
they would even incriminate themselves, and also 

"All of these predictions have come true, and as far as the 
witnesses and affidavits are concerned, in dozens of cases; 
cases in which statements under the equivocal oath of the 
defendants stand in opposition to statements formerly sworn 
by them 

"In the years 1936 to 1938, political trials were taking 
place in one country. These were characterized by the fact 
that the defendants accused themselves in an astonishing 
way. For example, they cited a great number of crimes which 
they had committed or which they claimed to have com- 
mitted. At the end, when death sentences were passed upon 
them, they clapped in frenzied approval, to the astonishment 
of the world. . . . 

"These incidents were recalled to my mind by a certain 

happening in England. While looking through some numbers 
of the Volkische Beobachter I came across ... a report from 
Paris . . . about the means which were apparently used in 
these trials. . . . These means make it possible for the se- 
lected victim to be made to act and speak according to the 
orders given him." 

Hess rambled on, taking in such diverse subjects as the 
number of casualties in the Boer War and his own spiritual 
relationship with the Church, until the President of the court 
interrupted him. 

"I must draw the attention of the defendant Hess to the 
fact that he has already spoken for twenty minutes/' he 
pointed out. "The Tribunal has indicated to the defendants 
that it cannot allow them to continue to make statements 
of great length at this stage of the proceedings. We have to 
hear all the defendants. The Tribunal therefore hopes that 
the defendant Hess will conclude his speech." 

Hess began to end his long peroration. 

"I was permitted to work for many years of my life under 
the greatest son whom my country has brought forth in its 
thousand-year history/' he said, proudly. "Even if I could, I 
would not want to erase this period of time from my exist- 
ence. I am happy to know that I have done my duty to my 
people, my duty as a German, as a National Socialist, as a 
loyal follower of my Fiihrer. I do not regret anything. 

"If I were to begin all over again, I would act just as I 
have acted, even if I knew that in the end I should meet a 
fiery death at the stake. No matter what human beings may 
do, I shall someday stand before the judgment seat of the 
Eternal. I shall answer to Him, and I know He will judge 
me innocent." 

Hess sat down. He had said his last words in public. 

On October i, 1946, Rudolf Hess was found not guilty of 
war crimes and crimes against humanity, but, despite Seidl's 
ingenuity, guilty of conspiracy and crimes against peace. 

Delivering judgment, Lord Justice Lawrence said, "Hess 
was an active supporter of the preparations for war. . . . His 

signature established military service. . . . He supported Hit- 
ler's policy of vigorous rearmament. . . . He expressed a de- 
sire for peace and advocated international economic co- 
operation . . . but of all the defendants none knew better 
than Hess how determined Hitler was to realize his ambi- 
tions, how fanatical and violent a man he was. 

"With him on his flight to England, Hess carried certain 
peace proposals which he alleged Hitler was prepared to ac- 
cept. It is significant to note that this flight took place only 
ten days after the date on which Hitler determined, twenty- 
second June, 1941, as that for attacking the Soviet Union. 

"That Hess acts in an abnormal manner, suffers from loss 
of memory, and has mentally deteriorated during this trial 
may be true. There is nothing to show that he does not 
realize the nature of the charges against him, or is incapable 
of defending himself. There is no suggestion that Hess was 
not completely sane when the acts charged against him were 

"Defendant Rudolf Hess, on the counts of the indictment 
on which you have been convicted, the Tribunal sentences 
you to imprisonment for life." 

Seidl had not saved his client, but his discovery of the 
secret German-Soviet agreement produced some unexpected 

First, it showed how hopeless had been the bargaining 
position of the British Government mission which was sent 
to Moscow in 1939 to reach agreement with Russia. Nazi 
Germany could offer Russia a partition of Poland plus con- 
trol of the Baltic states and Bessarabia, which Russia wanted. 
Britain, however, as the proclaimed champion of the inde- 
pendence of small nations, could not acquiesce to such pro- 
posals, and had no alternative propositions to offer. 

At the time, the failure of this British mission was blamed 
on the fact that it had not been led by a Senior Minister, 
but by Mr. William Strang, afterwards Lord Strang, whom 
Churchill later described as "an able official but without any 
special standing outside the Foreign Office." * 

* The Second World War, vol i, The Gathering Storm. 

In fact Germany succeeded with Russia where Britain 
failed simply because Germany could offer Stalin what he 
wanted; Britain could not. 

The next point to emerge from Seidl's ingenious defense 
was the astonishment it caused in the Russian prosecution. 
Rudenko was obviously amazed at the disclosure. No doubt 
their superiors felt that the news of this secret agreement 
should have been prevented from reaching the public. One 
Russian prosecuting lawyer, slightly junior to General Ru- 
denko, died a violent death almost immediately afterwards; 
it was said that he had been killed while cleaning his pistol. 

The American in uniform who handed Seidl the letter 
outside the Court was also dead within a matter of months. 
He was killed in Berlin while driving his car. Apparently it 
had been in a serious collision with another vehicle. But no 
other damaged vehicle was ever found, nor was one re- 

Lastly, Ribbentrop, despite the assurance he claimed the 
Russians had given him that his sentence would be "easier" 
if he did not go into details of this pact, found that the 
promise vastly exceeded the performance. He was hanged. 

When Hess came up for sentence, the Rxissian judge, 
clearly acting on instructions from above, vociferously de- 
manded the death penalty in a dissenting opinion. Stalin had 
obviously not forgotten what Beaverbrook had told him of 
Hess's mission in 1942. 

Since 1947, Hess had been Prisoner No. 7 in Spandau 
Prison a prison which, ironically, the Nazis used from 1933 
until the end of the war as a collecting place for political 
prisoners on their way to concentration camps. At first, Hess's 
companions were Walther Funk, Erich Raeder, Albert Speer, 
Baldur von Schirach, Baron Constantin von Neurath, and 
Karl Doenitz, 

One by one they were released, until now only Albert 
Speer, Hitler's Armaments Minister after the death of Todt; 
von Schirach, the former Youth Leader; and Hess remain. 
Speer and Schirach are serving twenty-year sentences; they 

can hope to end their days in freedom. Hess is there until 
he dies or until the four powers agree to remit his sentence. 
Spandau is the last organization that they control together. 
It is said that Britain, the United States, and France have 
no wish to perpetuate this costly farce which ties up large 
numbers of troops and officials, plus an annual cost of 
$84,000 to the West Berlin government. They would be 
willing to "reconsider" the sentences. But the Russians will 
not agree. 

Hess is allowed to write and receive one letter a week. In 
his letters he shows no evidence of insanity. Once, when Use 
Hess offered to send him a shirt as a Christmas present, Hess 
replied that he had no use for such a thing. If the four powers 
kept him a prisoner, the least they could do was to see that 
he was clothed. In his letters home, he gives his son good 
advice on the choice of a career (engineering), on the prob- 
lems of a young man, on his aims and ambitions. 

Use Hess has not had an easy life since the war. She left 
Munich in 1945 and traveled to Hindelang with her son. 
There the French arrested her and held her prisoner for 
eighteen months. Her mother looked after the little boy. 
When she was released she had no work and no money. At 
one time her main source of income was to sell the puppies 
of her dachshund bitch. 

Then a friend asked her to manage a small guest house, 
Die Bergherberg, in the Hindelang Mountains. The owner 
has given her a special room there for her husband, should 
he ever be released. She remains confident that one day he 
will be freed and will come home to her. 

The room is lined with pale unstained wood, and com- 
mands a magnificent view across the pine-covered moun- 
tains over which Hess flew on that Saturday evening, so 
long ago. Here are gathered such small possessions of her 
husband as she has been able to preserve through the war, 
the occupation, and her own imprisonment. His books and 
his papers await him. His Siemens radio is still tuned to 
Kalundborg; even the toys he and his son played with to- 

gather during the days before his flight ar6 now stacked 
neatly in this empty room awaiting his return. 

When her son Wolf Riidiger was twenty-one and called 
up for national service in July, 1959, he applied for exemp- 
tion. In a letter to the Conscription Appeals Tribunal, he 
pointed out that the Niirnberg Trial in 1946, which had 
sentenced his father to life imprisonment, included repre- 
sentatives of the NATO powers. His conscience forbade him 
to do military service for the former judges of his father. 

He added that one of the reasons the court had given for 
its sentence on his father was the part he had played in 
building up the German Army. In these circumstances, it 
would be impossible for him to serve in this same army. 
His appeal was rejected in February, 1960. An official of the 
recruiting office explained, "We exempt only those whose 
conscience forbids them to do military service on religious 
or philosophic grounds." For all that, young Hess has heard 
no more of the matter. Nor are there any indications that 
he will. 

In Britain, three mementos remain of his father's unsuc- 
cessful mission. 

First, in Lennoxlove, the home of the Duke of Hamilton, 
there is still preserved the creased and faded map by which 
Hess steered his course towards Eaglesham. The house is 
open to the public, who always show much interest in this 

Next, Douglas Percival still keeps a small leather wallet, 
embossed with a swastika, that Hess gave him when they 
parted in 1942. It is in a glass case in his home next to the 
ancient ruined abbey in Shaftesbury, Dorset. It was the 
wallet that held the photographs of his wife and son, which 
Hess brought to prove his identity. 

In Eaglesham, too, the arrival of Rudolf Hess is still 
vividly remembered. On the night he landed, Basil Baird, 
who lives in Floors Farm, went out when he heard the com- 
motion in David McLean's house, and marked the spot at 
which the parachutist descended with a large flat stone. 

This stone marks more than the arrival of an uninvited 
envoy from the night sky. It marks the hour and the place 
when Britain was presented with what seemed an easy road 
to peace, when Churchill chose instead the harder path of 
honor. It marks the time possibly the only time when 
Russia could have been defeated, and when the Communist 
shadows that now darken two-thirds of the world might have 
been dispelled forever. The stone is weathered, mellowed 
and changed by twenty summers and winters. So are the 
other actors in this drama, those who still survive. 

Only Hess seems curiously untouched by these passing 
twenty years that so quickly saw the crumbling of the Third 
Reich which Hitler boasted would last for a thousand years. 
By stepping out of time, Hess has been rendered almost 
timeless, forgotten by many of his contemporaries, unknown 
to a new generation. 

Yet surely the greatest ironies of this strange story are that 
the prophet of Lebensraum should have lived for so long in 
a prison cell, and that the Nazi who sought to end the war was 
sentenced for crimes against peace. "Reflecting upon the 
whole of this story/' wrote Churchill in his memoirs,* "I am 
glad not to be responsible for the way in which Hess has 
been and is being treated. 

"Whatever may be the moral guilt of a German who stood 
near to Hitler, Hess had, in my view, atoned for this by his 
completely devoted and fanatic deed of lunatic benevolence. 

"He came to us of his own free will and, though without 
authority, had something of the quality of an envoy. He was 
a medical and not a criminal case, and should be so re- 

* The Second World War, vol. 3, The Grand Alliance. 



Translation of Affidavit * of 
Dr. Friedrich Gaus, dated March 15, 1946 

About noon on August 23rd, the plane in which I was travel- 
ing with the Reichsaussenminister landed at Moscow. I was act- 
ing as his legal adviser in regard to certain negotiations with the 
government of the Soviet Union. 

Later in the afternoon the discussion started between Ribben- 
trop and Stalin. I was not present, but the Reichsaussenminister 
took part and also a councillor from the Embassy, Hilger, who 
acted as an interpreter. Also present was Ambassador Count 
von der Schulenburg. 

The outcome seemed to be a happy one for the Reichsaussen- 
minister, who expressed the opinion that Germany would be suc- 
cessful in her proposals. 

In the evening a second discussion took place for the purpose 
of completing and signing the necessary documents. I had pre- 
pared the draft for Herr von Ribbentrop, and I took part in the 
discussion. Ambassador Count von der Schulenburg and the coun- 
cillor from the Embassy, Hilger, were also there. Stalin and 
Molotov carried on the negotiations for the Russian side aided by 
Pavlov as interpreter. 

An agreement was quickly reached regarding the Nonaggres- 
sion Pact between Germany and Soviet Russia, but a phrase re- 
garding the friendly shaping of German-Russian relations was 
objected to by Stalin, who said that the Soviet government could 
not suddenly publicize a German-Russian friendship after the 
National Socialist Reichsregierung had poured '"buckets of putrid 
ditchwater" over them for six years, and it was necessary for it 
to be reworded. 

Besides the Nonaggression Pact there were negotiations at 
some length about a special secret document, which in my recol- 
lection was called "Secret Protocol" or "Secret Additional Proto- 

* From Die Beziehungen zwischen Deutschland und der Sowjetunion 
1939-1941; Dokumente des Auswartigen Amtes, herausgegeben von Dr. 
Alfred Seidl, H. Laupp'sche Buchhandlung, Tubingen, 1949. 


col." This aimed at the delimitation of the mutual spheres of 
influence in the European territories situated between the two 
countries. I cannot remember whether the expression "spheres 
of influence'' was used or not. 

In this document Germany said she was disinterested in Latvia, 
Estonia and Finland, but regarded Lithuania as part of her 
"sphere of interest/' At the same time, Germany wanted to have 
an interest, but not political, in the Baltic ports which were free 
from ice. This of course was not acceptable to the Russians. Ob- 
viously the Reichsaussenminister was acting on instructions, as he 
had booked a telephone call to Hitler which came through at this 
time. He was told to accept the Soviet point of view. 

For the Polish territory a demarcation line was fixed. Whether 
it was marked exactly on a map or described in words in the 
document, I cannot remember. The agreement reached about 
Poland was to the effect that both powers should settle all ques- 
tions concerning that country at a final meeting. Regarding the 
Balkans, it was established that Germany should have only eco- 
nomic interests. 

The Nonaggression Pact and the secret document were signed 
at a rather late hour of the same night. 

Approximately one month later at discussions about the second 
German-Soviet Political Treaty, the document mentioned above 
was altered following a suggestion communicated by the Soviet 
government to Berlin earlier to the effect that Lithuania was 
to be taken out of the German "sphere of interest" except for a 
lappet" adjacent to East Prussia. In return, however, the de- 
marcation line in Poland was moved further to the east. 

At subsequent negotiations, through diplomatic channels, 
either at the end of 1940 or the beginning of 1941, this Lithuanian 
"lappet" was given up by the Germans. 


I would like to give grateful acknowledgment to the many 
people who helped me with the preparation of this book. In 
particular, I would like to record my debt of gratitude to the 
following, who were kind enough to make available to me their 
recollections and impressions of this episode in history: Mr. Basil 
Baird, Mr. William Burgess, Mr. A. Coles, Mr. Richard Collier, 
Mr. William Craig, Dr. Henry Victor Dicks, Mr. Harry Dinning, 
Sir Patrick }, Dolan, Mr. A. W. Gittens, Dr. J. Gibson Graham, 
His Grace the Duke of Hamilton, Mr. J. Harding, Dr. Heinz 
Haushofer, Frau Use Hess, Herr Wolf Riidiger Hess, Dr. Rainer 
Hildebrandt, Mr. C. Hill, Mr. Tom Hyslop, Dr. D. Ellis Jones, 
Sir Ivone Kirkpatrick, Mr. Max McAuslane, Mr. J. L. McCowen, 
Mr. David McLean, Mr. Matthew Miller, Mr. C. H. Mitchell, 
Mr. H. S. Nadin, Mr. Douglas Percival, Dr. N. R. Phillips, Herr 
Karlheinz Pintsch, Mr. Matthew Plender, Mr. J. R. Raine, Dr. 
J. R. Rees, Mr. James H. Ronald, Col. A. Malcolm Scott, Dr. Al- 
fred Seidl, Mr. J. J. Shephard, Mr. John Simpson, Herr Helmut 
Sundermann, Dr. Maurice N. Walsh, Mr. Stephen Watts. 

I am indebted to Mr. Richard Wiener for translating many 
German documents and letters, and to Mrs. Joan St. George 
Saunders for undertaking much of the research. 

My thanks are due to Britons Publishing Company for allow- 
ing me to quote from Prisoner of Peace; to Dr. J. R. Rees, Wil- 
liam Heinemann, Ltd. and David Higham Associates, Ltd. for 
permission to quote from The Case of Rudolf Hess; to Cassell & 
Company, Ltd. for permission to quote from The Second World 
War; to Mr. Willi Frischauer for permission to quote from The 
Rise and Fall of Hermann Goering; to Sir Ivone Kirkpatrick and 
David Higham Associates, Ltd. for permission to quote from 
The Inner Circle, published by Macmillan & Company, Ltd.; to 
Stephen Watts and The New Yorker for permission to quote 
from "The Aging Parachutist"; to Druffel-Verlag for permission 
to quote from Sven Hedin. 

I am also indebted to Her Majesty's Stationery Office for per- 
mission to publish certain papers which first appeared in Docu- 

merits in German Foreign Policy, 1918-1945, Series D, vol. XI; 
"The War Years/' September i, i94o-January 31, 1941, published 
by Her Majesty's Stationery Office. 

When several conflicting accounts have been given of some 
incident, I have endeavored to strike a mean between them. 
Any errors are my own. 


The following is a list of the principal published sources of this 

Dino Alfieri, Dictators Face to Face., trans, by David Moore, Elek 

Books, Ltd., London, 1954. 

Hans Baur, Hitler's Pilot, Frederick Muller, Ltd., London, 1958. 
Alan Bullock, Hitler, a Study in Tyranny, Harper & Brothers, New 

York, 1953. 
Winston S. Churchill, The Second World War, vol. 2, Their Finest 

Hour, vol. 3, The Grand Alliance, Houghton MifHin Company, 

Boston, 1949, 1950. 
Galeazzo Ciano, Hidden Diary, 1937-1938, trans, by Andreas Mayor, 

E. P. Button & Co., New York, 1953. 
Richard Collier, The City That Would Not Die: the Bombing of 

London, May 10-11, 1941, E. P. Button & Co., New York, 1959. 
Otto Bietrich, Hitler, trans, by Richard and Clara Winston, Henry 

Regnery Company, Chicago, 1955. 
Herbert von Birksen, Moskau-Tokio-London, Erinnerungen und Be- 

trachtungen zu 20 Jahren deutscher Aussenpolitik, 1919-1939, W. 

Kohlhammer Verlag, Stuttgart, 1949. 
Riitger Essen, Sven Hedin, ein grosser Leben, Bruffel- Verlag, Leoni 

am Starnberger See, 1959. 
Jack Fishman, The Seven Men of Spandau, Rinehart & Company, 

Inc., New York, 1954. 

Jean Frangois, L Affaire Rohm-Hitler, Gaflimard, Paris, 1939. 
Lindley Fraser, Germany Between Two Wars: a Study of Propaganda 

and War Guilt, Oxford University Press, Toronto, 1944. 
Willi Frischauer, The Rise and Fall of Hermann Goering, Houghton 

Mifflin Company, Boston, 1951. 

Hugh Gibson, ed., The Ciano Diaries 1939-1943, Boubleday & Com- 
pany, Inc., Garden City, 1946. 


Carl Haensel, Das Gericht vertagt sich: aus dent Tagebuch eines 

Nurnberger Verteidigers, Claasen Verlag, Hamburg, 1950. 
Franz Haider, Hitler as Warlord, Putnam & Co., Ltd., London, 1950. 


Heinz A. Heinz, Germany's Hitler, Hurst & Blackett, Ltd,, London, 

Sir Nevile Henderson, Failure of a Mission: Berlin 1937-1939, G. P. 

Putnam's Sons, New York, 1940. 
Use Hess, Prisoner of Peace, Britons Publishing Company, London, 

Gefangener des Friedens: neue Briefe aus Spandau, Druffel- 

Verlag, Leoni am Starnberger See, 1955. 
Rainer Hildebrandt, Wir sind die Letzten: aus dem Leben des Wider- 

standkdmpfers Albrecht Haushofer und seiner Freunde, Michael 

Verlag, Neuwied-Berlin, 1949. 
Adolf Hitler, My New Order, ed. by Raoul de Roussy de Sales, Reynal 

& Hitchcock, Inc., New York, 1941. 

Sir Ivone Augustine Kirkpatrick, The Inner Circle, Macmillan & Com- 
pany, Ltd., London, 1959. 
Peter Kleist, Zwischen Hitler und Stalin, 1939-1945, Athenaum- 

Verlag, Bonn, 1950. 
Louis P. Lochner, ed., The Goebbels Diaries 1942-1943, Doubleday 

& Company, Inc., Garden City, 1948. 
Malcolm Muggeridge, ed. s Ciano's Diplomatic Papers, Odhams Press, 

Ltd., London, 1948. 
Benito Mussolini, Memoirs, 1942-1943, trans, by Frances Lobb, ed. 

by Raymond Klibansky, George Weidenfeld & Nicolson, Ltd., Lon- 
don, 1949. 
Gordon W. Prange, ed., My New Order (Hitler's Speeches, 1922- 

1943), American Council of Public Affairs, Washington, 1944. 
G. Ward Price, I Know These Dictators, George G, Harrap & Co., 

Ltd., London, 1937. 
J, R. Rees, ed., The Case of Rudolf Hess, William Heinemann, Ltd., 

W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., New York, 1948. 
Otto Ernst Remer, 20 Juli 1944, H. Siep, Hamburg, 1951. 
Joachim von Ribbentrop, The Ribbentrop Memoirs,, trans, by Oliver 

Watson, George Weidenfeld & Nicolson, Ltd., London, 1954* 
Arthur Rosenburg, A History of the German Republic, trans, by Ian 

F. D. Morrow and L. Marie Sieveking, Methuen & Co., Ltd., Lon- 
don, 1936. 
Paul Schmidt, Hitlers Interpreter, The Macmillan Company, New 

York, 1951. 
Statist auf dipkmatischer Buhne 1923-45, Athenaum-Verkg, 

Bonn, 1949. 

Joachim Schultz, "Die Letzten 30 Tage," Steingriiben-Verlag, Stutt- 
gart, 1951. 

Alfred Seidl, ed., Die Beziehungen zwischen Deutschland und der 
Sowjetunion, 19391941: Dokumente des Austoa'rtigen Amies, H. 
Laupp'sche Buchhandlung, Tubingen, 1949. 

William L. Shirer, Berlin Diary: the Journal of a Foreign Correspond- 
ent, 1934-1941, Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., New York, 1941. 

Gen. Hans Speidel, We Defended Normandy, trans, by Ian Colvin, 
Herbert Jenkins, Ltd., London, 1951. 

Walter Stubbe, "In Memorium Albrecht Haushofer" in Vierteljahrs- 
hefte fur Zeitgeschichte, 8 Jahrgang, 1960. 

Stephen Watts, "The Aging Parachutist" in The New "Yorker, New 
York, February 16, 1957. 

Documents and Materials Relating to the Eve of the Second World 
War, vol. i, November, 1937-1938; vol. 2, The Dirksen Papers, 
1938-1939, Foreign Languages Publishing House, Moscow, 1948. 

Documents on British Foreign Policy, 1919-1939; 3rd Series, vols. i- 
4, Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1949-1950. 

Documents on the Events Preceding the Outbreak of War, the Second 
German White Book, German Library of Information, New York, 

Documents on German Foreign Policy, 1918-1945; Series D, vols. 
1-4, Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1949-1951. 

The Trial of the Major War Criminals Before the International Tribu- 
nal, Documents in Evidence, Nuremberg, 1948, vol. 38, Document 
No. n6-M. 



Ageing Parachutist, The (Watts), 

23, 126 
Alfieri, 137-38 
Andrus, Burton C., 213 
Auslandorganisation, 40, 47, 222 
Avon, Anthony; see Eden 

Badoglio, Pietro, 200 

Baird, Basil, 239 

Battle of Britain, 58, 175 

Baur, Hans, 5, 61-63 

Beaverbrook, Lord, 120, 173-79, 

192, 237 

Bechstein family, 92 
Birkett, Norman, 215 
Bismarck, sinking of the, 101 
Bodenschatz, Karl, 103, 134-45, ^-Q 
Bohle, Ernst Wilhelm, 46 
Bormann, Albert, 91, 93, 142 
Bormann, Martin, 91, 103-5, 142- 

43, 186-88, 197, 212 
Bracken, Brendan, 114, 176 
Braun, Eva, 103-4, 187, 211 
Britain, conditions in 1941, 156-58 

and Hess, 131-33, 180-82, 240 

invasion of, 175 

and Russia, aid to, 177-78 

and U.S.A., 66-67 
Bruckmann, Elsa, 189 
Bruckmann, Hugo, 189 
Busch, Captain, 229 

Cadogan, Alexander, 112-14, 118-19 

Canaris, W. W., 53 

Carol, King of Rumania, 101 

Case of 'Rudolf Hess (Rees), 160, 

166-67, 170, 190, 209, 221 
Casement, Roger, 152 
Chamberlain, Neville, 42, 92, 101 

Cherwell, Lord, 114 

Churchill, Winston, 44-45* 49> 5* 
60, 113-18, 120, 131-33, 142, 
146-47, 152-56, 158-60, 166, 

174-78, 180-83, 193, 200, 222, 


Ciano, Galeazzo, 43-44, 56, 137-38 
Clark, Mr., 22-28 
Colville, John R., 113 
Cooper, Alfred Duff, 50, 126 
Craig, William, 16, 20 
Croneiss, Theo, 61, 191 

Daily Express (London), 190 
Daily Record (Glasgow), 93, 95-96, 


Darlan, Jean Louis, 91, 103 
Dicks, Henry V., 169-72 
Dietrich, Otto, 103, 136 
Doenitz, Karl, 210, 237 
Donald, Graham, 109 
Douglas, Sholto, 108 

Eckart, 77 

Eden, Anthony, 44, 50, 118-19, 122, 

132, 154, 156, 186, 200, 222 
Evening Standard (London), 178 

Fath, Hildegard, 228-29 

Fisher, John, 179 

Flight to England, Hess*, 1-11 

Foley, Charles, 190 

France, British bombardment of, 44 

and German armistice, 79 

and Hess, 238 

and Mussolini, 43 

war crimes in, 211 
Frank, Hans, 224 
Frischauer, Willi, 132 

Fiihrer; see Hitler 
Fuhrer's Deputy; see Hess 
Funk, Walther, 224, 2.37 

Gaus, Frederick, 227-28, 241-42 
George VI, King, 60, 165, 192 
Germany, and Britain, invasion of, 


conditions for peace, 232-33 
and Russia, 43, 56, 135, 151, 153, 
160, 175-81, 208, 211, 222, 
225-27, 229-30, 233, 237 
Gilbert, G. H., 221, 223 
Glasgow Daily Record; see Daily 


Goebbeis, Joseph, 211 
Goering; see Goring 
Goethe, 169, 196, 203 
Goring, Hermann, 3, 9, 40, 43, 61, 
77, 102, 106, 132, 134-36, 200, 

210, 212, 214-l6, 221, 223, 

225-26, 233 

Graham, Gibson, 152, 159, 166-67 
Greim, Rutter von, 9 
Giinther, Konrad, 201 

Haider, Franz, 137, 183-84 

Halifax, Earl of, 53, 120 

Hamilton, Duke of (Douglas 

Douglas-Hamilton), 6, 15, 19, 
21, 30-31, 45, 50, 52, 54-6o, 
68-70, 74-75, 94> 9^, 107-23, 
126, 146, 148, 182, 223, 231- 
32, 239 

Hamilton, Ian, 45, 60 

Hansen, Dr., 143-44, 187 

Haushofer, Albrecht, 30, 35, 45-56, 
58-60, 65-66, 69-70, 117, 185- 
86, 190 

Haushofer, Frau, 38 

Haushofer, Heinz, 41-42, 46, 186 

Haushofer, Karl, 30, 34-35, 38, 40- 
43, 45-47, 57, 60, 63, 65-66, 
144-45, 165, 184, 186, 190, 194, 

Hess, Alfred (brother), 31, 143-44 

Hess, Ilse (wife), 29-30, 36-38, 60, 
74-80, 103, 139-45* 165, 184, 
186-88, i94-99> 238 

Hess, Rudolf, 2-11, 15-23, 25-41, 
45-47, 51-54, 57, 60-92, 99- 
100, 102, 105, 107-12, 116- 
206, 20810, 212, 214-40 


Hess, Wolf Riidiger (son), 30, 40, 
75-7& 79-8o, 145, 165, 188, 
194-95, 203, 238-39 

Hewel, Walter, 103 

Heydrich, Reinhard, 53 

Himrnler, Heinrich, 150, 186, 211-12 

Hitler, Adolf, 2, 5, 29, 33-45, 4&-49 
56, 61-63, 65-67, 70, 76-77> 
79-80, 84, 91-93, 99-107, 121- 
26, 131-38, 140-42, 144-45, 
147, 149-51, 153-54, 156, 15&- 
61, 163-64, 166, 169, 175, 179, 

l8l~91, 197, 2OO, 207-8, 211- 
12, 215, 222-25, 229-30, 232- 

37, 240 

Hitler's Interpreter (Schmidt), 183 
Hitler's Pilot (Baur), 62-63 
Hoare, Samuel, 50, 54, 185 
Hood, sinking of the, 101 
Horn, Hauptmann Alfred (Hess 

alias), 15, 21, 30-32, no, 112, 

116, 118-19, 123, 125, 127, 136, 


Hyslop, Nan, 12, 13 
Hyslop, Tom, 12, 13, 20, 26, 29 

Inner Circle (Kirkpatrick), 119, 147 
Ismay, Hastings, 114, 120 
Italy, King of, 200 

Jones, Ellis, 194, 206 

Jones, Mervyn Griffith, 222-23 

Keitel, Wilhelm, 183, 212 

Kelly, Douglas, 220 

Kersten, Felix, 150 

Kilmuir, Lord; see Maxwell-Fyfe 

Kirkpatrick, Ivone, 118-23, 126, 

146-51, 156, 160-61, 169, 

182, 232 

Lawrence, Geoffrey, 214-15,. 221, 

231, 234-35 
Ley, Robert, 211-12 
Lindbergh, Charles A., 2 
Livingstone, Clem, 96-97, 122-29 
Lothian, Philip, 50, 54 

McAuslane, Max, 95-98, 122, 128- 


Mclntyre, D. F., 74 
McLean, David, 14-24, 94, 96, ill, 

123-25, 239 

McLean, Miss, 14, 124-25 

McLean, Mrs., 14, 17-20, 23, 25, 96, 

111, 124-25 

Maxwell-Fyfe, David, 218 
Mein Kampf (Hitler), 43, 66, 92, 

Messerschmitt, Willi, 61-62, 85, 135- 

36, 162, 184, 191 
Molotov, Vyacheslav Mikhailovitch, 

151, 226-27, 230 
Moran, Lord, 208 
Mortsiepen, Herr, 62 
Mussolini, Benito, 43, 101, 134, 137- 

38, 145, 151, 190, 223 
Myer, George F., 77 

Naturlebem (Giinther), 201 
Neurath, Constantin von, 237 
Nuremberg Trial; see Trial 

O'Malley, Owen St. Glair, 50 

Papen, Franz von, 212, 214-15 
Paulus, Friedrich von, 200 
Percival, Douglas, 155, 164, 166, 

168, 192, 239 
Petain, Henri, 79 
Piel, Herr, 81-83, 85-88 
Pilot's Book of Everest, 74 
Pintsch, Karlheinz, 63-73, 80-91, 93, 

99-106, 135, 184-85, 191 
Pravda, 179 
Prime Minister; see Chamberlain and 

Prisoner of Peace (Ilse Hess), 79 

Raeder, Erich, 237 

Rashid, Ali, 153 

Rees, J. R., 160, 166-67, 170, 190, 

Ribbentrop, Joachim von, 44, 50, 58, 
102-4, ^-SS* *3 8 > iSij 210 > 212 > 
214, 221, 223, 225-27, 229, 233, 


Riddoch, George, 209 
Rise and Fall of Hermann Goring 

( Frischauer ) , 132 
Roberts, Miss V., 46, 52 
Rohm, Captain, 38, 77 
Rohrscheidt, Dr. von, 208, 215, 217- 

20, 224 

Roosevelt, Franklin D., 49, 15^-54 
Rosenberg, Alfred, 33, 75-77* 212 

Rudenko, Roman, 218, 230, 237 
Russia, British aid to, 177-78 

and Germany, 43, 56, 135, 151, 
153, 160, 175-81, 208, 211, 
222, 225-27, 229-30, 233, 
war crimes in, 211 

Sauter, Dr., 224 

Schirach, Baldur von, 214, 221, 224, 


Schmidt, Paul, 183 
Schofield, Eric, 93-96 
Schuschnigg, Kurt von, 101 
Scott, A. Malcolm, 155 
Seidl, Alfred, 224-33, 236-37 
Shawcross, Hartley, 215 
Shearburn, Mary, 115 
Simon, John, 57, 159-63, 169, 174, 

202-3, 229, 232-33 
Simpson, John, 96-97, 123-25 
Sinclair, Archibald, 53, 116, 120 
Skorzeny, Otto, 145, 190 
Speer, Albert, 237 
Stahmer, Herr, 185 
Stalin, Joseph, 133, 160, 177-80, 

226, 230, 237 

Stohr, Flight Captain, 62, 191 
Strang, William, 236 
Streicher, Julius, 212, 221 
Sunday Mail (Glasgow), 95 
Sweden, 44 
Switzerland, 44, 205 

Times, The (London), 172 

Todt, Fritz, 91, 99-100, 103, 189, 


Tree, Mr. and Mrs. Ronald, 115 
Trial at Nuremberg, 207-37 
Trotsky, Leon, 57 

Udet, Ernst, 61, 104 
U.S.A., aid to Britain, 158 

and Germany, 43 
U.S.S.R.; see Russia 

Vatican, 44 

Voelkische Beobachter, 42, 77, 235 

Watts, Stephen, 23, 126 
Weizsacker, Baron von, 230 
When I Was a Boy (Hamilton), 60 
Williamson, Robert, 22-28